In this quotation from Chapter 4, Angelou describes how, growing up in an African-American...
Whitefolks couldn't be people because their feet were too small, their skin too white and see-throughy, and they didn't walk on the balls of their feet the way people did—they walked on their heels like horses.
In this quotation from Chapter 4, Angelou describes how, growing up in an African-American community, she perceived white people as strange and other, which is ironic given that those white people would have it that the black people were the ones that were strange and other. In the quotation, Angelou uses a simile to describe how the white people walked: "on their heels like horses." Also in this same quotation, to emphasize the point of how different these white people seemed to her, Angelou repeats the word "too" in the phrases "too small" and "too white."
A light shade had been pulled down between the Black community and all things white, but one could see through it enough to develop a fear-admiration-contempt for the white "things"—white folks' cars and white glistening houses and their children and their women.
In this second quotation, from Chapter 8, Angelou compounds the idea already introduced in the previous quotation: that white people seemed to her, when she was a child, strange and foreign. In this quotation, Angelou uses the metaphor of the "light shade" to represent the divide, which must have seemed material and literal, between the white and black communities. Also in this quotation, Angelou uses the repetition of color imagery, namely the color white, to connote the seeming uniformity of the "white folks." The point is emphasized by the listing, indicated by the repetition of the connective "and." The impression is of a blinding, uniform whiteness, that, through the metaphorical lampshade, seemed very strange and almost otherworldly.
To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.
In this quotation from Chapter 34, Angelou uses metaphor to make the point that one's adolescence is the crucial period during which one must decide whether to pursue one's own course or conform and follow the course taken by the majority. Angelou describes the adolescent period metaphorically as "the tightrope of youthful unknowing," implying that it is difficult to stay on one's own course or path. Angelou also writes that "Few, if any survive their teens." Here again, Angelou is being metaphorical. She does not mean that so many teenagers literally die, but that so many teenagers abandon their own path, conform, and in so doing, something of their identity and individuality dies. The third metaphor in this quotation can be found in the final sentence, in which Angelou describes the pressures of adulthood, and specifically the pressures to conform, as a battle.