Book Report I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Book Report I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou, the author to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, writes about a girl who is confronted with sex, rape, and racism at an early stage in her life in detail in her novel. When she is three years old, her parents have a divorce and send her and her four-year-old brother Bailey from California to Arkansas to live with her grandmother in a town that is divided by color and full of racism. They are raised by her grandmother and then sent back to their carefree mother in the absence of a father figure. At age eight, she is raped by her mother’s boy friend while she is sleeping in her mother’s bed. The book also tells about her other sexual experiences during the early parts in her life. Those experiences lead to the birth of her first child. Throughout the book, I’ve also learned about many racist things. It was painful to read about the hateful treatment of Blacks during that time and the effect that it had on Black children. When Maya had a bad tooth and her grandmother took her to a white dentist in town. The white dentist refused to help Maya because, as he stated, "I would rather put my hand in the mouth of a dog than to put it into a nigger's mouth." This incident serves only as an example of the many ways that Blacks were cruelly mistreated in those days. The book thus explores a lot of important issues, such as: sexuality and race relations, and shows us how society violated her as a young African American female. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou clearly expresses the physical pain of sexual assault, the mental anguish of not daring to tell, and her guilt and shame for having been raped. Her timidity and fear of telling magnify the brutality of the rape. For more than a year after the rape she lives in self-imposed silence, speaking only very rarely. This childhood rape reveals the pain that African American women suffered as victims not only of racism but also sexism. What I liked most about this book was the reality it revealed. It showed how brutal and cruel the society was. This book made me realize that racism is deeply embedded in the life and history of the nation, and it still exists in today’s society.
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