Throughout the book, Marguerite struggles with feelings that she is "bad" and "sinful," as her thoughts echo the admonitions of her strict religious upbringing. What does she learn at the end of the memoir about right and wrong?
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The birth of Maya's baby is also the first time that someone actually belongs to her, and that she feel unconditional love for another. "He was beautiful and mine," Maya declares, regarding her child with love. The self-doubt that had plagued Maya is gone, as she has accomplished something she never anticipated. Mother tells Maya, "if you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking"; this is valuable advice for Maya, and also one of the lessons of the novel. Although Maya has acted rashly and made mistakes growing up, in the end she's still a good person and things have come out for the best. Maya learns a valuable lesson in life, which is the value of following her heart; she will make mistakes in the years to come, but she manages to follow her heart, and everything does end up being for the best.