In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, why has Mrs. Flowers remained for Angelou "the measure of what a human being can be"?
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Maya finds Ms. Flowers remarkable because she posseses a sense of self and self-confidence that is rare among the black women Maya has known. She is elegant and assured, kind and intelligent, proud and real. "She makes Maya proud to be an African American. Knowing that Maya is an outstanding student, she provides her with the best of literature and introduces her to formal customs such as afternoon tea. " Maya wants to be just like her some day; she becomes her "measure of what a human being can be" (especially an African-American woman!)
Mrs. Flowers has been the measure of what a human being can be to Maya because she was benign and an important teacher to Maya. Maya Angelou has said, “Black people say, when you get, give; when you learn, teach.” Maya learned important life lessons and also gained confidence from Mrs. Flowers. Because Mrs. Flowers was gentle Maya could learn from her and be gentle herself. The measure of what a human being can be is helping others and being their role models like Mrs. Flowers was to Maya.
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