Maud Martha Gwendolyn Brooks was a black poet from Kansas who wrote in the early twentieth century. She was the first black woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize. Her writings deal mostly with the black experience growing up in inner Chicago. This is the case with one of her more famous works, Maud Martha. Maud Martha is a story that illustrates the many issues that a young black girl faces while growing up in a white, male driven society. One aspect of Martha that is strongly emphasized on the book is her low self-image and lack of self-esteem. Martha feels that she is inferior for several reasons, but it is mainly the social pressures that she faces and her own blackness that contribute to these feelings of inferiority. It is through these depictions that we are able to identify with the feelings of the writer. Gwendolyn Brooks wrote an autobiography that reveals many her attitudes, tendencies and criticisms. Martha, in Brooks stories has a low self-esteem. This lack of self is directly related to her being black. Brooks experiences growing up are the key influence in the writing of Maud Martha Marthas self-image is very low because she feels that being black will not get her anywhere in society. She feels as though she is backed into a corner when it comes to the problems that the black culture faces from day to day. Martha is a very dark shade of black. She thinks that because she is this shade she is not a beautiful as her friends who are a lighter shade of black or obviously, white. These issues exist and are perpetuated by her family, friends and even her boyfriend. Brooks also discusses similar issues in her autobiography. She talks about skin color and how people are attracted to bright people. By bright she is not referring to their intelligence or wit, but the color of their skin. She also says that in order to be respected as a black person you have to be a light shade of black and n…
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