The narrator and also the author who shares her experiences as a black youth in southern America and other cities. She possesses a keen eye and is always able to look beyond and beneath the surface of situations, to see deeper.
Maya is riddled by self doubt and cannot appear to free herself from the notion that she is unattractive, constantly comparing herself to white girls and so forth.
She eventually manages to find herself when she is thrust into harsh independence and comes to be educated on the matter that she must take pride in who she is.
‘Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait’
‘I believe most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise’
‘Without willing it, I had gone from being ignorant of being ignorant to being aware of being aware. And the worst part of my awareness was that I didn’t know what I was aware of’
‘At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice’
‘It was awful to be Negro and have no control over my life. It was brutal to be young and already trained to sit quietly and listen to charges brought against my color with no chance of defense. We should all be dead’
‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul’
‘Like most children, I thought if I could face the worst danger voluntarily, and triumph, I would forever have power over it’
‘Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning’
‘You don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking’
‘In order to avoid this bitter end, we would all have to be born again, and born with the knowledge of alternatives. Even then?’