Maya Angelou, Champion of the World
How does Angelou build up suspense in her account of the fight? At what point were you able to predict the winner?
The writer began to build suspense in her story in the 18th paragraph, she wrote, “We didn’t breathe. We didn’t hope. We waited.” When I read this I envisioned the people in the store intently staring at the radio, waiting for the announcer to say that Joe Louis had gone down or had been knocked out. After the announcer had said that Louis was off the ropes and back in the fight, I was starting to think the fight was turning in his direction. When she said that Louis was mad and he started fighting harder, it became clear that he was going to win the fight, but even after the contender had hit the ground, the people in the store where still anticipating him to get up and beat Louis. It wasn’t until the referee raised his hand and it was announced that he was in fact the winner that the crowd began to celebrate.
Comment on the irony in Angelou’s final paragraph.
I think the irony of Angelou’s final paragraph is very clear. A black man was able to hold the heavyweight title, but, it was still unsafe for a group of African Americans to be out alone at night. It also points out that, in those times, white people would be angry about a black man disproving their theories about African Americans, by beating a white man in a boxing match.