Analysis Of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou’s excerpt from her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” reveals the challenges facing a young black girl in the south. The prologue of the book tells of a young Angelou in church trying to recite a poem she has forgotten. She describes the dress her grandmother has made her and imagines a day where she wakes up out of her black nightmare. Angelou was raised in a time where segregation and racism were prevalent in society. She uses repetition, diction, and themes to explore the struggle of a black girl while growing up. Angelou produces a feeling of compassion and poignancy within the reader by revealing racial stereotypes, appearance-related insecurities, and negative connotations associated with being a black girl. By doing this she forces the…show more content…
Through the mood of the words Angelou uses, the reader is able to recognize Marguerite’s dissatisfaction for her black features. For example the narrator states “Wouldn 't they be surprised when one day I woke out of my black ugly dream… number-two pencil.” The use of the word “ugly” when she describes wanting to wake out of the black dream conveys her association of being black with something unattractive or frightening as a nightmare. Her use of the word “mass” portrays her discontent with how large her kinky hair is. Lastly, the use of the word “too-big” when she is describing a Negro girl tells of her distaste for being larger black girl. These words have a negative connotation and depict an unfavorable outlook of features associated with a black girl. Another example is when she describes a “cruel fairy stepmother” who turned her into a “too-big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil.” The use of the word “cruel” tells the reader that the fairy stepmother cursed her by making her black. Furthermore showing her belief that being black is a

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