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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Alana Scott

on 9 November 2012

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Transcript of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Introduction Summary Caged Bird is an autobiography of a portion of Maya Angelou's life. in this portion of her life Maya uses her autobiography to describe her experiences with racism, rape, and identity. Analysis of the Conflict I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a very well-renowned memoir written about Maya Angelou by herself. It is set in a rough period of the U.S. and tells about a period of Maya's life including her family, experiences, and conflicts. 1. Summary 2. Analysis of POV (point of view) 3. Evaluation of the historical context and period Marguerite (Maya) was raised with her brother Bailey by her Grandmother, or her "Momma" in her humble town of Stamps, Arkansas. At this time, Arkansas is segregated. she describes her encounters with racism, such as her experience with the dentist. "My policy is that I don't treat colored people." (Angelou 188) She also describes the obvious division of white and black in their town. "In Stamps the segregation was so complete... the powerless against the powerful...the poor against the rich, the worker and the worked for..." (Angelou 25) After discovering that she had the opportunity to visit her true mother, Maya goes to California to see her. She describes the differences between Stamps and Oakland, and her feelings towards it. Upon going to visit her Mother,Maya experiences rape by her mother's boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. She describes how this event takes a toll on her emotionally, physically, and mentally. However, she grow from this experience and starts to explore her inner self Later on in her life, Maya explores herself even further including her sexual orientation, which is right about at the same time that she conceives a son. Man vs. Man The main conflict of Man vs. Man in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the conflict bewteen Maya and Mr. Freeman. Why, you ask? Well to be blunt, it's because he raped her. "The act of rape on an eight- year-old body is a matter of the needle giving because the camel can't" (Angelou 78) Man vs. Self The main conflict of Man vs. self in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is simply Maya vs. Maya. To explain, there are several times in the story where Maya was frustrated with herself and her identity, "wouldn't they be surprised when I woke out of my black ugly dream , and my real hair, which was long and blonde..." (Angelou 2) and even punished herself for something that should have been relieving. What, you ask? Mr Freeman's death. "[policeman:] Freeman's been found dead on the lot... [Maya's thoughts] I had sold myself to the Devil and there could be no escape. The only thing I could do was stop talking to people..."(Angelou 86-87) Evaluation of Historical Context and Period The time period that was set in Caged Bird was the early 1930's to late 40's. during this time period, segregation was more complete and evident, especially in more southern-most states like Arkansas. (where Maya grew up) During this time there was an abundance of racism. For example, once again, the dentist that was quoted previously. Conclusion The famous work of literature, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a memoir of Maya Angelou's earlier life in Stamps, Arkansas, The conflicts with the people around her and the struggle of living life in the segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas. not only was there discrimination between black and white people, but there was discrimination between "better" black people and "worse" black people. This caused Maya to frustrate herself more because of her race, her color, and the way she looked. "don't worry cuz you ain't pretty"
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