Human Family, Maya Angelou

Poem, video and conversation activity

Read the following poem, watch the clip, and answer the questions below.

HUMAN FAMILY  by Maya Angelou*

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

* Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was an American author and
poet born in Missouri.
She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays,
and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays,
 movies, and television shows.

1.What is the best sumary of the poem? 

A)We are all humans.
B)Family members are similar in the way that they act.
C)Many people have the same smile or the same face gesture.

2.Which of these points are mentioned?

different races
concepts of beauty
similar struggles

Features of Culture:
Think of one example common to most people around the world or particular of a specific culture.

  • Styles of dress
  • Importance of time
  • Values
  • Literature
  • Attitudes about personal space/privacy
  • Holiday customs
  • Music
  • Celebrations
  • Concept of fairness
  • Nature of friendship
  • Foods
  • Greetings
  • Facial expressions and hand gestures
  • Work
  • Religious beliefs
  • Concept of beauty
  • Rules of polite behavior
  • Attitude toward age
  • The role of family

Adapted from PeaceCorps

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