65 pages 2 hours read

Maya Angelou

The Heart of a Woman

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1981

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Chapters 9-12Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary

Angelou arranges to meet Make for lunch, resolved to reject him. However, before she gets a chance to say anything, Make launches into a long speech during which he reiterates his intentions and tells her something about his life as a South African freedom fighter. After having been jailed by the government, Make was left stranded in the desert by the police, hundreds of miles from the nearest inhabited areas. Make was helped by Indigenous hunters and learned how to hunt and gather his own food as he walked across South Africa and Bechuanaland (Botswana) into Ethiopia. He tells her that his ambition in coming to the US was to find a companion such as her, “a strong, beautiful, black, American woman, who would be a helpmate, who understood the struggle and who was not afraid of a fight” (117). When Angelou insists that she intends to marry Thomas Allen, Make makes her jealous by hinting that he will seek consolation from sex workers during his forthcoming trip to Amsterdam.

Angelou retreats in tears to the bathroom, where another woman repeatedly asks what is wrong, and how she can help. As she stares at her dim reflection in the small, dirty mirror in the bathroom, Maya comes to the realization that she has already decided to accept Make’s proposal.