This essay, published in The Norton Pocket Book of Writing by Students, uses trauma theory to tease out the psychological complexities of Maya Angelou’s childhood sexual abuse, as portrayed in her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and most importantly, the resilience that allows her to overcome it.
Drawing on the intersection of writing pedagogy and psychoanalytic methodology, this essay—which was coauthored with Noreen Groover Lape and published in Wellness and Writing Connections: Writing for Better Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health—maintains that therapists who implement writing as an intervention with their patients can also encourage revision of that writing for added scriptotherapeutic benefits.
Criticism of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has long failed to acknowledge the importance of Dorothy’s orphanhood. Published in the Winter 2009 issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, this article argues that Baum made his heroine an orphan to support the then-burgeoning movement toward sentimentality and its ensuing concept of sentimental adoption, which embraced the emotional value of children over their potential economic contributions to the family. Baum’s novel was also written in the context of an emerging psychological discussion of child development; by portraying Dorothy as an orphan, Baum provides readers with a metaphoric guide to understand what psychologists now call the adoptee’s journey toward self-integration.