Alice Walker and Maya Angelou are among the present day African-American writers. They are both well known for articulating issues relating to African Americans in their works. Comparing the two writers, there are several notable similarities and differences both in their life as well as well as in their writings. Starting with their life experiences, these two writers were brought up in the rural south and therefore they have almost similar cultural perspective. In addition to this, the two writers experienced traumatic events at the early age of eight years. Alice Walker lost her eye sight in one eye after she was involved in an accident. Maya Angelou on her part was raped. The early experiences have shaped the work of the two writers in that they have written about them in their works. Alice Walker dedicated a full essay in her book which she called In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens to describe her life as well as the traumatic accident. Maya Angelou on her part narrated her life’s story in her autobiography. She dedicated an entire chapter which she called In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens to tell about her experiences in life.

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The most notable similarity is in the themes of their works. The two have dedicated their writing to issues related to gender. Their choice for gender based topics was informed by the existing gap as the earlier writers did not explore gender issues. Most or the earlier writers were male who mainly concentrated on racial discrimination themes without giving any special focus to the female gender. As a result, most of the issues that women faced particularly gender based discrimination were left untouched. There was therefore a dire need to address these issues so as to ensure justice for women prevails. The two women authors were best suited to articulate gender based issues and discrimination as they hand firsthand experience being African American women living in the American society. Their upbringing in the south where discrimination against the blacks in almost all spheres of life was prevalent gave them enough understanding of the gender problem and they were therefore well versed with the topic.

Despite these similarities, there are also some differences that differentiate these two African American female writers. The major differences emanate from the way in which these two writers present their work, especially, in the tone of their presentation. Alice Walker uses present tense and short sentences to express herself. She uses an emotive tone as she chooses words that elicit strong feelings in her audience (Walker, 2011). The strong words coupled with the use of present tense makes the incidents being narrated appear more recent and this adds to the emotions of the audience. For example, in narrating a scenario where her brothers were given guns and she was not just because she was a woman, she insists that she was relegated to an Indian position. The word relegated in this context makes the audience to be irate as no one wishes to be relegated. Another strong word that she uses is confronted when she was describing her encounter with her parents after the accident. The word confronted shows some form of combativeness and this helps in bringing out the real emotions in her.

Maya Angelou on her part uses a conversational tone while delivering her thoughts and experiences. She uses past tense in her expressions and she carefully chooses words that bring out a sense of hope (Angelou, 1998). Her use of past tense is a way of showing that all the bad deeds are over. For example, when describing the rape incident, she says that while she thought she had died, she woke up in another world which she believes to be heaven.

In conclusion, authors are informed by the society in which they live in and their works is usually a reflection of the society. Alice Walker and Maya Angelou are two influential women who have written a lot about gender and discrimination. The two authors have a lot of similarities which has made their work to be very similar particularly relating to themes. The authors also have some differences in the manner in which they present their ideas. Alice Walker for example uses an emotive tone so as to appeal to the audience. On the contrary, Maya Angelou uses a conversational tone to appeal to her audience.

  • Angelou, Maya. (1998). Maya Angelou: Poems. New York: Bantam.
  • Walker, Alice. (2011). In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens. Open Road Media. Retrieved on 23rd December, from .