I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

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“Love and hate are two horns on the same goat” (The Help). The world cannot know love without experiencing hatred. The Help and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings both take place in the South, during a time period where racism and hate are very prevalent. Although it is obvious that both works portray racism, they both do it in a way that makes the controversial issue seem very different. However, many can agree that The Help gets the reality of this issue across to its audience more effectively than the novel.
The novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings goes through the childhood of Maya Angelou as she faces the difficult realities of the early South. This novel does not do a very good job at portraying the hardships of the blacks because she simply does not write about any terribly horrific events that have happened to her as a direct result of racism. The most shocking scene in the novel is the rape scene between Maya and Mr. Freeman (Angelou 78). This is a very traumatic experience that Maya has to go through and dwell on for the rest of her life, but this is not an act of racism. This act of violence and sexual assault resulted from Mr. Freeman being a sick individual. However, both rape and racism have something in common; they both feed on silence. This book may have suffered in getting the point of racism across to the reader because Maya was so used to keeping quiet about such traumatic events, but it is more likely because Maya is telling the story based on what she remembers from her childhood. A novel told from the prospective of a child often times lacks a sense of reliability simply because no one can possibly recall all of the details from so many years before. Maya is an unreliable author when it comes to this novel ...


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... the fact that the maids interacted with white people all the time. This abundant amount of interracial interactions gives way to a plentiful amount of racism opposed to the few and far between interactions in the novel. The Help simply has more opportunities to have racism present itself and the director used these opportunities in a way that showed the issues perfectly to the audience.
The Help is a very well-done film that displays the daily struggles that the black community had to go through in the early South while I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is more specifically about Maya’s experiences in general. Maya takes a broad approach to talking about racism by speaking about a few events and The Help describes everyday as a new struggle against oppression. The film definitely takes the “pie” when it comes to portraying the issue of racism as a real-life problem.

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