MAYA ANGELOU was born Marguerite Johnson in Saint Louis in 1928. After
an unpleasantly eventful youth by her account (“from a broken family, raped
at eight, unwed mother at sixteen”), she went on to join a dance company,
star in an off-Broadway play (The Blacks), write six books of poetry, produce
a TV series on Africa, act in the television series Roots, serve as a coordinator
for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, direct a feature film,
win the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and secure lifetime membership in
the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Angelou may be best known, however,
for the six books of her searching, frank, and joyful autobiography- beginning
with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), which she adapted for
television, through A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002). Her most recent book
is Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes (2004 ).
She is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
Champion of the World
“Champion of the World” is the nineteenth chapter in I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings; the title is a phrase taken from the chapter. Remembering
her childhood, the writer tells how she and her older brother, Bailey, grew up
in a town in Arkansas. The center of their lives was Grandmother and Uncle
Willie’s store, a gathering place for the black community. On the night when
this story takes place, Joe Louis, the “Brown Bomber” and the hero of his
people, defends his heavyweight boxing title against a white contender.
Angelou’s telling of the event both entertains us and explains what it was
like to be African American in a certain time and place.
Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks,” following Angelou’s essay, also explores the
experience of growing up an outsider in mainly white America.
The last inch of space was filled, yet people continued to wedge themselves
along the walls of the Store. Uncle Willie had turned the radio up to its
last notch so that youngsters on the porch wouldn’t miss a word. Women sat
on kitchen chairs, dining-room chairs, stools, and upturned wooden boxes.
Small children and babies perched on every lap available and men leaned on
the shelves or on each other.
The apprehensive mood was shot through with shafts of gaiety, as a black
sky is streaked with lightning.
“I ain’t worried ’bout this fight. Joe’s gonna whip that cracker like it’s open
Angelou I Champion of the World 89
“He gone whip him till that white boy call him Momma.” 4
At last the talking finished and the string-along songs about razor blades 5
were over and the fight began.
“A quick jab to the head.” In the Store the crowd grunted. “A left to the 6
head and a right and another left.” One of the listeners cackled like a hen and
“They’re in a clinch, Louis is trying to fight his way out.” 7
Some bitter comedian on the porch said, “That white man don’t mind s
hugging that niggah now, I betcha.”
“The referee is moving in to break them up, but Louis finally pushed the 9
contender away and it’s an uppercut to the chin. The contender is hanging on,
now he’s backing away. Louis catches him with a short left to the jaw.”
A tide of murmuring assent poured out the door and into the yard. 10
“Another left and another left. Louis is saving that mighty right … ” 11
The mutter in the Store had grown into a baby roar and it was pierced by the
clang of a bell and the announcer’s “That’s the bell for round three, ladies and
As I pushed my way into the Store I wondered if the announcer gave any 12
thought to the fact that he was addressing as “ladies and gentlemen” all the
Negroes around the world who sat sweating and praying, glued to their “Master’s
There were only a few calls for RC Colas, Dr Peppers, and Hires root beer. 13
The real festivities would begin after the fight. Then even the old Christian
ladies who taught their children and tried themselves to practice turning the
other cheek would buy soft drinks, and if the Brown Bomber’s victory was a
particularly bloody one they would order peanut patties and Baby Ruths also.
Bailey and I laid the coins on top of the cash register. Uncle Willie didn’t 14
allow us to ring up sales during a fight. It was too noisy and might shake up the
atmosphere. When the gong rang for the next round we pushed through the
near-sacred quiet to the herd of children outside.
“He’s got Louis against the ropes and now it’s a left to the body and a right 15
to the ribs. Another right to the body, it looks like it was low … Yes, ladies
and gentlemen, the referee is signaling but the contender keeps raining the
blows on Louis. It’s another to the body, and it looks like Louis is going down.”
My race groaned. It was our people falling. It was another lynching, yet 16
another Black man hanging on a tree. One more woman ambushed and raped.
A Black boy whipped and maimed. It was hounds on the trail of a man running
through slimy swamps. It was a white woman slapping her maid for being forgetful.
1 “His master’s voice,” accompanied by a picture of a little dog listening to a phonograph,
was a familiar advertising slogan. (The picture still appears on some RCA recordings.)-Eos.
The men in the Store stood away from the walls and at attention. Women 17
greedily clutched the babes on their laps while on the porch the shufflings and
smiles, flirtings and pinching of a few minutes before were gone. This might
be the end of the world. If Joe lost we were back in slavery and beyond help.
It would all be true, the accusations that we were lower types of human
beings. Only a little higher than apes. True that we were stupid and ugly and
lazy and dirty and, unlucky and worst of all, that God Himself hated us and
ordained us to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, forever and ever, world
We didn’t breathe. We didn’t hope. We waited. 18
“He’s off the ropes, ladies and gentlemen. He’s moving towards the center 19
of the ring.” There was no time to be relieved. The worst might still happen.
“And now it looks like Joe is mad. He’s caught Camera with a left hook to 20
the head and a right to the head. It’s a left jab to the body and another left to
the head. There’s a left cross and a right to the head. The contender’s right eye
is bleeding and he can’t seem to keep his block up. Louis is penetrating every
block. The referee is moving in, but Louis sends a left to the body and it’s an
uppercut to the chin and the contender is dropping. He’s on the canvas, ladies
Babies slid to the floor as women stood up and men leaned toward the radio. 21
“Here’s the referee. He’s counting. One, two, three, four, five, six, 22
seven … Is the contender trying to get up again?”
All the men in the store shouted, “NO.” 23
“-eight, nine, ten.” There were a few sounds from the audience, but they 24
seemed to be holding themselves in against tremendous pressure.
“The fight is all over, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s get the microphone over 25
to the referee … Here he is. He’s got the Brown Bomber’s hand, he’s holding
it up … Here he is … ”
Then the voice, husky and familiar, came to wash over us-“The win- 26
nah, and still heavyweight champeen of the world … Joe Louis.”
Champion of the world. A Black boy. Some Black mother’s son. He was 27
the strongest man in the world. People drank Coca-Colas like ambrosia and
ate candy bars like Christmas. Some of the men went behind the Store and
poured white lightning in their soft-drink bottles, and a few of the bigger boys
followed them. Those who were not chased away came back blowing their
breath in front of themselves like proud smokers.
It would take an hour or more before the people would leave the Store 28
and head for home. Those who lived too far had made arrangements to stay in
town. It wouldn’t do for a Black man and his family to be caught on a lonely
country road on a night when Joe Louis had proved that we were the strongest
people in the world.
·.·.·····,····: •. :1.··· .·
Angelou I Champion of the World 91
For a reading quiz, sources on Maya Angelou, and annotated links to further readings
on joe Louis and on the history of segregation in the South, visit bedfordstmartins
How do you respond to the group identification and solidarity that Angelou writes
about in this essay? What groups do you belong to, and how do you know you’re a
member? Consider groups based on race, ethnic background, religion, sports, hobbies,
politics, friendship, kinship, or any other ties. (To take your journal writing further,
see “From Journal to Essay” on the next page.)
Questions on Meaning
1. What do you take to be the author’s PURPOSE in telling this story?
2. What connection does Angelou make between the outcome of the fight and the
pride of African Americans? To what degree do you think the author’s view is
shared by the others in the store listening to the broadcast?
3. To what extent are the statements in paragraphs 16 and 17 to be taken literally?
What function do they serve in Angelou’s narrative?
4. Primo Camera was probably not the Brown Bomber’s opponent on the night
Maya Angelou recalls. Louis fought Camera only once, on June 25, 1935, and it
was not a title match; Angelou would have been no more than seven years old at
the time. Does the author’s apparent error detract from her story?
Questions on Writing Strategy
1. What details in the opening paragraphs indicate that an event of crucial importance
is about to take place?
2. How does Angelou build up SUSPENSE in her account of the fight? At what point
were you able to predict the winner?
3. Comment on the IRONY in Angelou’s final paragraph.
4. What EFFECT does the author’s use of direct quotation have on her narrative?
5. OTHER METHODS. Besides narration, Angelou also relies heavily on the method
of DESCRIPTION. Analyze how narration depends on description in paragraph 27
Questions on Language
1. Explain what the author means by “string-along songs about razor blades” (par. 5).
2. Point to some examples in the essay of Angelou’s use of strong verbs.
Maya Angelou on Writing 93
I try to set myself up in each chapter by saying: “This is what I want to
go from-from B to, say, G-sharp. Or from D to L.” And then I find the hook.
It’s like the knitting, where, after you knit a certain amount, there’s one
thread that begins to pull. You know, you can see it right along the cloth.
Well, in writing, I think: “Now where is that one hook, that one little thread?”
It may be a sentence. If I can catch that, then I’m home free. It’s the one
that tells me where I’m going. It may not even tum out to be in the final chapter.
I may throw it out later or change it. But if I follow it through, it leads me
1. How would you define the word rhythm as Maya Angelou uses it?
2. What response would you give a student who
As the expanding worry of how to accomplish execution perfection through workers, the greater part of the associations presently pay more considerations on the methods for rousing representatives, for example, impetuses, rewards. Kreitner (2004) cited Mitchells meaning of inspiration which alludes to those mental procedures that reason the excitement, course, and constancy of willful activities that are objective coordinated. Diverse inspiration speculations control the methods for urging individuals to try and adventure their capacity for the associations objective and addressing their own needs; likewise, they recommend the components bringing about occupation fulfillment and their effect on worker execution (Armstrong, 2006). This article endeavors to investigate the inspiration and the procedure of inspiration by a basic audit of inspiration hypotheses; in addition, it inspects the speculations through a poll explore as far as what individuals are spurred and how they are propelled. In this way, it prompts a further exchange of the use of inspiration hypothesis by and by. Writing Review As Armstrong (2006) states inspiring individuals alludes to urge them to progress in the direction of the normal bearing, inspiration in associations goes for making a unique circumstance and undertaking an inspiration procedure in which people work and give the execution as indicated by the administrative desires. The procedure of inspiration is depicted as a necessities situated model that experiences four phases: require, objective setting, activity and accomplishment (Armstrong, 2006). It is proposed that individuals know about the unsatisfied needs deliberately or unwittingly; and after that the craving of fulfilling the requirements empowers the foundation of objective (Latham, 2007). To accomplish the objective by taking activities is accepted will address the issues. On the off chance that the objective is gotten effectively, similar activities are probably going to be rehashed for fulfilling the requirements (Latham, 2007). Along these lines, the procedure of the inspiration is finished. The hypothesis of inspiration is separated into two primary classes C content hypothesis and process hypothesis. Content hypothesis translates the bits of knowledge of people groups needs and investigates the variables that rouse individuals (Foster, 2005). It underscores the characteristic components that empower, coordinate and continue conduct; additionally, it clarifies how these components are esteemed as inner sparks by people (Porter, Bigley and Steers, 2003). There are four essential substance speculations of inspiration at work, including Maslows progression of need, Alderfer's ERG (presence relatedness-development) hypothesis, Herzbergs spark cleanliness model and McClellands adapted requirements hypothesis (Porter, Bigley and Steers, 2003). Content hypothesis C Maslows Hierarchy of Human Needs Among these hypotheses, Maslow's chain of command of human needs is the most renowned one associating people groups needs to inspiration. As per this hypothesis, people needs are classified as inadequacy needs and development needs. Insufficiency needs are the fundamental needs that must be fulfilled; it contains three dimensions C physiological, wellbeing and security, belongingness. The physiological needs are at the base of Maslows pecking order hypothesis. In other words, every other need are out of people groups thought until the point that the physiological needs are fulfilled (Latham, 2007). The ramifications of physiological needs at work may incorporate meal break, rest break, adequate wage to help every day fundamentals (NetMBA, 2007). Wellbeing and security needs emerge for shielding oneself from dangers and damage either physically or sincerely on condition that physiological necessities are fulfilled. With regards to work, wellbeing and security needs can be reflected through a sheltered workplace, retirement advantage, employer stability, and so forth (NetMBA, 2007). Since the two lower needs are fulfilled, individuals are ceaselessly looking for higher requirements; subsequently the longing of collaboration and correspondence with other individuals develops. Belongingness needs covers this degree of people groups needs that accepting and giving adoration, and having a place with a gathering. Development needs allude to the headway and accomplishment of people potential; it incorporates confidence and self-completion (Foster, 2005). Development needs are vague yet higher than lack needs. Maslows hypothesis expect that higher requirements will be the focal point of the people consideration and end up prevailing when the lower needs are fulfilled (Armstrong, 2006). Confidence needs named inner and outside. The wants for accomplishment, certainty, opportunity and autonomy originate from oneself. The outer regard is about the craving of consideration, significance, acknowledgment and notoriety (Armstrong, 2006). Self-realization suggests the necessities to most extreme ones potential and advance aptitudes, and the requirements to accomplish higher objectives that one thinks of one as is competent for it (Armstrong, 2006). Confidence and self-realization lie on the best two layers of the pyramid of Maslows hypothesis. In spite of the fact that they might be hard to achieve, they are the best drive for individual conduct. In any case, Maslows hypothesis is likewise addressed by different researchers for two points. Right off the bat, as Armstrong (2006) points out, the need of various needs is fluctuated with person. Maslows progressive system of requirements hypothesis shows that individuals pursue this chain of importance of necessities consistently. All things considered, distinctive individuals may have diverse should be fulfilled as their need. There are two investigates directed among a gathering of chiefs from various associations for inspecting Maslows hypothesis. Lawler and Suttles look into discovered directors prevalent requirements at the more elevated amount are shifted with individual (Koontz and Weihrich, 2006). In another examination, Hall and Nougaim discovered little proof to help the hypothesis of chain of importance as chiefs expanding consideration on development needs is for the most part controlled by the progressions in upward vocations rather than the fulfillment of lower-arrange needs (Koontz and Weihrich, 2006). Process hypothesis C Goal Setting Theory As it has been referenced, content hypotheses are about what individuals are persuaded. Basically, process speculations recommend the implies that individuals are spurred. They focus on the procedure of people groups basic leadership and the moves they make with the end goal to achieve the normal objectives (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007). Process hypothesis of work inspiration has three noteworthy speculations: value hypothesis, anticipation hypothesis and objective setting hypothesis. Objective setting hypothesis states singular inspiration and execution can be upgraded through defining an explicit objective on condition that the objective is testing however dedicated, and alongside an input on execution (Griffin and Moorhead, 2009). From the administration point of view, objective is utilized as a compelling way to oversee inspiration and to control association performing in connection to the normal outcome (Griffin and Moorhead, 2009). It likewise encourages associations to translate and estimate representatives work conduct as the hypothesis accept conduct is the result of sensible objectives and purpose(Koontz and Weihrich, 2006). Objective settig hypothesis contains four noteworthy suggestions: testing objectives, explicit objectives, interest and information of results (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007). The four noteworthy recommendations are viewed as the crucial components of objective setting hypothesis that for the most part add to more elevated amount execution (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). Testing objectives are bound to cause alluring execution. When individuals submit the objective and trust it is attainable, they move toward becoming objective situated; and they take activities for objective accomplishment (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). Troublesome objectives require more powerful result of conduct than simple ones. Further, explicit objectives regulate to more elevated amount execution than general ones; for reasons of giving exact arrangement that individuals work upon. Investment in objective setting hypothesis is an imperative part as it is a legitimate method to get concurrence on defining higher objectives (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). Thusly, individuals will attempt to achieve the objectives. Information of results or input is assuming the job of illuminating individuals of the outcomes and keeping up inspiration for higher objectives (Armstrong, 2006). Hypothetically, objective setting is a successful technique for associations to overseeing work inspiration and accomplishing high objectives. Be that as it may, it is questioned of its viability out of lab setting (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). Austin and Bobko bring up objective setting is probably going to concentrate on amount of work instead of nature of it as amount is more quantifiable and clearer than quality when defining objectives (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). In addition, there might be clashes among various objectives in the genuine work setting. To choose which objective is earlier intends to disregard or hold alternate objectives. Accordingly, the utilization of objective setting is debilitated (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). In addition, objective setting hypothesis is constrained to singular work and execution. By and by, bunch objectives and execution, particularly a companys objectives and execution represent more significance (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). Crown and Rose discovered defining bunch objectives can improve the execution of the gathering; and the gathering objectives are comprised of individual objectives concurred by people (Arnold and Silvester, 2005). Consequently, objective setting hypothesis is recommended to be connected to gathering or associations as entire instead of stick on individual dimensions. Research Data Analysis The exploration expects to discover what individuals are persuaded in the working environment and in which way they are inspired based on Maslows pecking order of necessities hypothesis and objective setting hypothesis. The information is gathered through survey from ten respondents. The initial segment of poll is created for investigating the sparks as indicated by Maslows hypothesis. The center suggestion of Maslows hypothesis is that people groups needs have five phases from low to high shaping the progressive system. Five explicit things demonstrate the five dimensions of requirements: sensible wage, professional stability, worker connections, accomplishment and acknowledgment, chance of upward ca>GET ANSWER