I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide

Original title:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is a chronicle of the first 16 years of Maya Angelou's life. She is one of the most heard and visible figures of the African American women movement both in terms of her literary and social activity.

"The Caged Bird" starts with Maya, whose full name is Marguerite, she is traveling together with siblings to stay with their grandparents. They don’t have the most loving family and it only makes the life of the African American kids at the beginning of the 20th century more difficult. Staying with grandma and uncle isn’t very pleasant at all, but it’s at this time that Maya realizes the importance education plays in a person’s life.

The girl falls in love with Shakespeare and other books, which become her inspiration and hiding hole. It helps her get distracted from the fact that her family is treated badly by white people and the children are treated badly by their own family. When all of the sudden her father shows up, she doesn’t think long before leaving the grandmother’s place with him.

At all the different places where Maya lived that she should have been able to call home, she found new and new ways of intolerance and violence: sexual abuse, rape, racism, death, physical abuse, guilt, exploitation, the list goes on. But at those places, she actually learned good things: to read and understand poetry, to work hard, to stand up to racism, to speak up, to be a good mom…

Even though the book is an autobiography genre, it uses the tricks typical for fiction novels. That’s what makes it more interesting to read and easier to get to know the terrible acts of racism the author had to experience in real life. It can also be called an adventure novel and the romance lovers will find something for them in the text as well.

New Essays

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The Theme of Racism in Maya Angelou’s Novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

In this essay I will be talking about how the theme of Racism is developed throughout Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings novel. Angelou on the second page states, “Wouldn’t they be surprised when one day I woke out of my black ugly dream, and my real hair, which was...

Maya Angelou as a Caged Bird

The graduation scene from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings illustrates how, living in the midst of racism and unequal access to opportunity, Maya Angelou was able to surmount the obstacles that stood in her way of intellectual develop and find "higher ground."  One of the largest...

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a novel by Maya Angelou, where she writes about her childhood and her experiences while growing up. This non-fiction novel illustrates Maya Angelou’s childhood, being tossed around by her parents, and having to experience different cultures. Maya struggles...

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