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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Grace McCormick

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Group 1:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Memoir Synthesis Project

Key Events Guide
Poem Analysis
Image Analysis
Works Cited
Angelou, Maya.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
New York: Random House, 1970.

Angelou, Maya. "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings."
Best Poems, 3
Jan. 2003. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

Globe in Golden Cage.
Digital image.
Deposit Photos.
Deposit Photos, n.d. Web. 20 Nov.

Poetry. N.d. Photograph. Persephone Writes. By Angela Cybulski. Wordpress, 03 Feb.
2012. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

Wixom, Danica. Raise My Hands To Repentance And Freedom. Digital image.
Fineartamerica.com. Fine Art America, 22 Dec. 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

Ideas/Conclusions Drawn From Image:

There is a prayer (Chronicle 6: 28-30) written on the image
Bright colors
Emotion/ facial expression
Nice clothing
Body position
Blue image vs. bright image
Bare feet
She is portrayed as a young girl

Title (before reading):

Title (after reading):
Paints a picture of a bird trapped in a cage, longing for freedom
Bad circumstances do not affect the attitude of the bird
Imagery of the free bird
Imagery of the caged bird
Trading off between the two emotions
The bars of rage and clipped wings of the caged bird
The poem's title
Two points of view
Singing of the caged bird
Speaker's attitude toward the caged bird
Speaker's attitude towards the free bird
Speaker's attitude towards the subject
key words
six stanzas
Representative of a person trapped by circumstances
The person still exemplifies freedom, hope
What is the author talking about?
General theme?
Despite being constantly told by society that they are of little value, oppressed people are able to overcome hardships in life in order to strengthen themselves.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
How does each genre connect to the central idea?
How do the memoir, the poem, and the image differ from each other? How do differences in conventions affect the message?
What is a new conclusion that we can draw?
The visual image reflects the central idea through the emotions of the girl, and the mood the image brings.

The poem reflects the central idea through the symbolism of the caged bird.
The memoir reflects the central idea through different scenarios and events in Maya's life, and her personal thoughts on each event.

The memoir is very literal, allowing the reader to interpret real-life events in order to find a greater meaning. The events in Maya's life all point back to the idea of overcoming difficulties.
The visual image is the most abstract of the sources. It relies on creating a certain mood to convey its message.
The poem takes a bit of a different direction in talking about the differences between the free bird and the caged bird. It is also more symbolic than the other two sources.
Maya's Early Childhood in Stamps
Maya is born in California, but is transported to Stamps, AR after her parents' divorce at age three.

She lives with her grandmother, Annie Johnson, who owns a general store and has attained economic independence and a position of power in her community.

Maya grows up in a very strict religious atmosphere.
Maya is taken by her father to live with her mother and her mother's boyfriend in St. Louis.

Maya's mother's boyfriend soon rapes her, leading her "clan" of loyal, violent relatives to pursue revenge and kill him when he is released from jail.

Maya, believing that her willingness to name her attacker caused his death, remains silent for the next five years.
Maya's Time in St. Louis
Maya's Return to Stamps
At first, Maya continues to be silent, but she eventually begins to heal emotionally.

However, during this period of healing, Maya becomes brutally aware of racism.

A white man gives a speech at Mayas graduation from the eighth grade. He makes it clear that the children can never be their full potential, that they are garbage to white people and they have no future. They will always be second best to the whites.

This fills Maya will anger and a desire to fight back against racism.
Maya is taken by her father to live with him and his new girlfriend. However it isn't the sparkling castle she was promised - it is a trailer in a trailer park, and her father's girlfriend is anything but a fairy god mother.

Maya's father takes her to Mexico and ends up too drunk to drive home. Maya drives them to the border - her first time driving a car.

Afterwards Maya gets home and is stabbed by her father's girlfriend after trying to make amends with her. This causes Maya to leave.
Maya left her father and his new girlfriend to spend some time collecting herself.

She meets a group of kids her age that are all hiding and living out in the dump.

Maya is impressed by how close the kids are to each other and that they take her in.

She lives there for about a month before she realizes that running from her problems like these kids did will get her nowhere, so she heads back.
Maya's brother Bailey leaves the family after a time of arguing with their mother, causing Maya to become more independent.

Maya decides to get a job as a streetcar driver. This is a job that is limited to white people, but she goes in for an interview anyway.

Although she is rejected again and again, Maya persists and eventually gets the job.
Maya makes a decision to improve her self worth but ends up getting pregnant at sixteen.

At first she hides the developing child, but she eventually tells her parents.

Maya takes her new child as a sign of her own independence and freedom.
The Return to San Francisco
Maya's Homelessness in the Junkyard
The Birth of Maya's Son
Time Spent with Maya's Father
Freedom is one of the most essential needs of human beings. People who do not have freedom will make changes in the world in order to obtain it.
Speaker's attitude toward the caged bird
Speaker's attitude toward free bird
Poet's attitude towards speaker
"We were maids and farmers, handymen and washerwomen, and anything higher that we aspired to was farcical and presumptuous."
(Angelou 180)
"The lack of criticism evidenced by our ad hoc community influenced me, and set a tone of tolerance for my life."
(Angelou 254)
"I had a baby. He was beautiful and mine. Totally mine. No one had bought him for me. No one had helped me endure the sickly gray months."
(Angelou 288)
Full transcript