Harlem Hopscotch


Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, on April 4, 1928. Angelou was not just a poet she also was an author, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, singer, and civil rights activist. She has received numerous honorary degrees. On top of the ten best selling books and her Pulitzer Prize. “Harlem Hopscotch” can be view as life it self or just a child’s game. Angelou lived in Africa for a few years and was able to see and get a first hand perspective on poverty. When Angelou moved back to Harlem she discovered that life was similar to Africa. This is when she wrote “Harlem Hopscotch”.


Harlem is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Everyone that lives in Harlem lives in poverty. This game “hopscotch” is used as a metaphor for the less fortunate African-American child’s life who lives in Harlem. The kids will play this game from sun up to sun down. They all try to make it to the end but most fail. Once you get older you do realize that the game gets harder and harder. This is a metaphor for the game of life. You might not win the game of life but are content with how your life has panned out. “Harlem Hopscotch has a lot of imagery in the poem. Which can help us get the image of the game of life. In line 7 “Food is gone, the rent is due” This is the exact things that happen to every human person at least once a month. We all run out of food and have to pay the mortgage or rent. Also all the hopping and jumping mention I think is going from year to year.

In “Harlem Hopscotch” Angelou uses the words “twist and jerk” and also “everybody for hisself” What I get out of this is that Angelou is symbolizing that in the game of life people will do whatever it takes to win the game. Or to be successful in life.


“Harlem Hopscotch” teaches us that poverty is unfair. But it still gives everyone a chance if we make the best of it we can win the game of life. In the game of life we all write our story. By this I mean that all people must play the game to be successful in life.


This poem helped us to catch a glimpse of a child in poverty and show us that they live in constant worry of what will happen tomorrow. All the children that live in poverty help us to realize that we have a easier life than many. For instance, we have the opportunity to receive an education, and have the opportunity to have three meals a day, and to have a roof over our heads.






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