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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography by Mya Angelou.

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Corey Pilz March 20, 2003 I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Period F I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography by Mya Angelou, that describes her journey of growing up as an insecure black girl in the rural American South during a time of both war and segregation. Angelou also grew up during the Harlem Renaissance, which was a cultural revolution where African American artists were finally taken seriously by society at large. Both Mya Angelou and the many artists of the Harlem Renaissance present similar themes in their writings that express how hard it was to be an African American during the early 1900's. One writer in particular, Langston Hughes, presents three central themes throughout his poem, "Dream Variations" that can compared to the three central themes of Mya Angelou's autobiography. To begin, in his poem "Dream Variations," Hughes presents the idea of segregation, by comparing a "white day" and a "black night." Throughout I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou struggles with the idea of segregation itself. ...read more.


Angelou does never give up hope that one day whites and blacks will be equal. When Angelou comes along Miss Kirwin, a teacher in San Francisco, who does not even acknowledge that she is black, but treats as an equal, Angelou is filled with a sense of hope. Another common theme that is present by both Hughes and Angelou is the concept of dreams versus reality. Suggested by the title "Dream Variations," Hughes is attempting to show that it is only a dream that there can be any type of compatibility between day and night, or blacks and whites. Hughes demonstrates this by showing that in both the day and the night, he is free from white oppression and in a placid state. Angelou sometimes used dreams to show her inferiority over the white people in Stamps. An example would be when she created the dream of Momma telling the dentist to both apologize to her, something which would have never been done to a black person, and leave Stamps immediately. This shows that Angelou sometimes has a hard time grasping and accepting reality for what it is. ...read more.


He is finally at a peaceful state where he is free to whirl and dance around. Within I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou shows several attempts at experiencing freedom from white oppression. To begin, Angelou defies all odds and becomes the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Maya also shows that she has the right to be free from white oppression when she breaks her white employer's heirloom china dish. Angelou was also heavily influenced by those around her and their attempts to break away from white oppression. Angelou saw the power of her mother's family, and also how her mother's boyfriend, Daddy Clidell, used white peoples' prejudice against them in simple ruses. With this, Angelou became determined to fight white oppression, racism, and inequality altogether. In the end, both Mya Angelou and Langston Hughes presented similar themes in their writings that express how hard it was to be black during the early 1900's. Both writers demonstrated how hard it truly was to deal with segregation, overcome white oppression, and how hard it was to differentiate from dreams versus reality, when you are living in a world where human beings are treated differently just because of their skin color. ...read more.

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