i know why the caged bird sings summary
Maya Angelou tells the story of her coming of age as a smart but insecure Black girl in the American South during the 1930s and then in California during the 1940s in her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou was born and raised in the United States. Maya's parents split up when she was just three years old, and she and her older brother, Bailey, moved to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson, in the countryside of Stamps, Arkansas. Maya is now a teenager. Annie, whom they refer to as Momma, is the proprietor of the one and only store in the Black neighborhood of Stamps. She ends up becoming the most influential spiritual figure in Maya's formative years.
i know why the caged bird sings summary
Maya and Bailey have to deal with the emotional trauma of having been rejected and abandoned by their parents when they were still little children. Maya is also tortured by the idea that she is an ugly child who will never be able to compete on the same level as refined, white females. This idea drives her crazy. She does not believe that she is on the same level as other black children. Maya runs out of the church sobbing, laughing, and wetting herself when she is unable to finish reciting a poem while she is at church on Easter Sunday. Maya is self-conscious about her inability to finish the poem and feels like she has failed. Bailey uses his charisma to defend Maya in situations in which other people make fun of her directly in front of her and uses his charm to put them in their place.
Maya is exposed to the pervasive racism of the south, which manifests itself in the form of wearying daily indignities and terrifying lynch mobs as she grows up in Stamps. She likes to hang out at Momma's store and watch the cotton pickers on their way to and from work in the fields. Maya's father, of whom she has no memory, unexpectedly shows up in Stamps when she is eight years old and takes her and her sister Bailey to live with their mother Vivian in St. Louis, Missouri. Maya does not remember her father. Vivian is a stunning woman who works in gaming parlors. She leads an exciting and exciting life. Maya is subjected to sexual molestation and rape at the hands of Vivian's live-in boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, on one particular morning. They end up in court, and shortly after that, Mr. Freeman is brutally killed, most likely at the hands of some of Maya's family's acquaintances in the underground criminal underworld.
What is the message of why the caged bird sings?
In the wake of these occurrences, Maya is forced to live with the guilt and shame of having been the victim of sexual abuse. She also believes that she is to blame for Mr. Freeman's passing due to the fact that she denied in court that he had touched her previous to the rape and that she was the victim of the rape. Maya stops communicating with everyone other than Bailey because she has the misguided notion that she has become the devil's mouthpiece. Her mother's family initially rationalizes her silence as a transitory reaction to post-rape trauma; however, as time goes on, they grow increasingly exasperated and irritated by what they see to be disrespectful behavior on her part.
Maya and Bailey moved back to Stamps to live with Momma, much to Maya's relief but much to Bailey's disappointment. Maya's mother is able to break through her muteness by introducing her to a nice and intelligent woman named Mrs. Bertha Flowers. Mrs. Bertha Flowers instructs Maya to read works of literature aloud and provides her with books of poetry, both of which assist Maya in regaining her voice.
Maya gains an understanding of both the vulnerability and the resilience of her community during the time that she spends in Stamps. She goes to a church revival in which a priest tacitly speaks against white hypocrisy by focusing his lecture on compassion, and she listens to this sermon. The throng attending the revival walks home while passing a honky-tonk party, and the spiritual fortitude they got during the preaching quickly fades away. Maya also notices that the entire town is gathered around the radio to listen to the heavyweight championship boxing bout between Joe Louis and his white opponent. Everyone seems to be waiting impatiently for Joe Louis to defend his title against the white boxer.