I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

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1) Summary of Character Traits
 a) School smart (Maya is smart. When she moves to San Francisco from Stamps, Arkansas, she is skipped a grade.)
 b) Caring sister (she always talks of her devotion to Baily)
 c) Determined (she wants to get a job with the streetcar company and she keeps bugging them until they finally give her a job)
 d) Proud (she lives with the junkyard kids instead of going back to her father’s; she slaps Dolores for calling her mother a whore)
2) Appearance
 a) African American, tall, skinny, small and squinty eyes, big feet, large gap between her front teeth, black hair
3) What The Character Wants
 a) Maya wants, ultimately, for her family to be happy. She wants the segregation of blacks to end (she is disgusted when young white girls call her grandmother by her first name).
4) How the Character Changes
 a) After being raped, Maya stops talking as much
 b) After spending time living in the junkyard, Maya learns tolerance, which will help her through out her life. She matures from a young girl to a mother, as well.
 c) Becomes more mature once she gets her job with the street cars
5) Key Statements About the Character
 a) “Ritie, don’t worry ‘cause you ain’t pretty. Plenty of pretty women I seen digging ditches or worse. You smart. I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind.” (p.56)
 b) “In those moments I decided that although Baily loved me he couldn’t help. … I knew that because I loved him so much I could never hurt him” (p. 73)
6) Key Actions
 a) Father comes to Stamps and takes them to their mother
 b) Moves back to Stamps, then to SF
 c) Drives home from Mexico
 d) Slaps Dolores
 e) Stays with the junkyard people
 f) Gets pregnant
7) What Others Think Of the Character
 a) When they are younger, Baily really looks out for Maya. As they grow up, and after she spends time with her father, they drift apart.
 b) Her grandmother loves Maya very much, and knows that she is a very smart girl with a lot of potential.
 c) Her mother seems to care much more about her than her father did.

Thesis Statement: Maya Angelou faces many hardships, yet manages to overcome them all, in her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

Maya Angelo...


... middle of paper ...


...a car accident, and her father is woken up. After the horrendous trip to Mexico, Maya and her father return home to find his girlfriend enraged. In an outburst, the girlfriend calls Maya’s mother a whore. Maya slaps her, which provokes Dolores, the girlfriend, to attack her. After that situation, Maya goes and lives with children in a junkyard. After living in the junkyard, she returns home to her mother. Later on after that, she gets pregnant.

Although Maya is younger than he is, Baily admires his sister for her academic abilities, among other things.

Maya’s grandmother loves her very much. She instills in her strong beliefs and good morals. She knows Maya is a very smart girl and does the best she can to work Maya to her full potential.

Maya’s mother spends more time with her than her father does. Although both parents love her, the love of her mother is more apparent.

It is her hope that the segregation will end, and the black people will be equal to the white race. The way in which Angelou portrays her life makes the reader feel pity at times, for the way Maya and her family is treated, rage at other when Maya acts badly, and joy when good things happen for their family.

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