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"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" - Maya Angelou Autobiography

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With a humorous, yet emotional tone, Maya Angelou tells the story of how her journey into life began. In this autobiographical narrative she describes her life with incredible detail, to the point that the reader can actually see that young girl's world through her eyes. She openly communicates her adventures of tragedy and triumph throughout those sixteen years of her life, and the attitude she maintains toward her misfortune is admirable. The story begins with a preface that clearly demonstrates that Maya was not happy with being who she was. Angelou even says that one day she wished to wake up from that 'black dream' and be that little white girl with shiny blonde hair and light blue eyes again. Then, the story proceeds, beginning with when she and her brother Bailey were sent to Stamps at the age of three and four, with a tag on their wrists as if they were some kind of luggage that had lost its owner; to the dramatic events growing up in the South, as the black girl she was, with her super religious and strict grandmother; her rape; living in the junk yard for a month; and later experiences that would teach her the meaning of life, specially for her people. ...read more.


Even though she was pregnant, she did not tell anybody and persevered to complete high school and work toward a productive future. Growing up and surviving in this complex world can be hard, that is why learning about life and accepting oneself is a journey that all people make throughout their lives. It is evident that Angelou did not have an easy childhood, but even though life brings her many hardships, she learns everyday, especially from her grandmother, how to overcome them. These hardships include not only racism and prejudice, but also sexual molestation, poverty, and ignorance. I would say that the divorce of her parents was something positive in her life because it led her to her grandmother, who helped her spread the seeds and become the woman she is today. It is evident that if Maya and Bailey had stayed with either their mother or father, they would end up being useless people, stealing, consuming drugs, selling their body to strangers, or even killing. Fortunately, they did not lower themselves to that point thanks to Momma. How do I know this? Well, first lets take a look at her parents. Her mother is an irresponsible woman who likes to live life the best way she can. ...read more.


They have what they have because they fought for it and their long and harsh journey deserve to be awarded. Maya Angelou probably chose the title "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", which is very convenient for this opening story of her life, because it talks about the struggles of life and how perseverance and hope can help you overcome them and move forward. My interpretation of the title is that the "Bird" refers to Angelou's people in general, and it is "Caged" in a horrible life of racial discrimination and prejudice, even to this day. However, as Angelou grows up and experiences the world around her, she learns why the "bird", between those bars of injustice, "sings"; and it sings because despite the struggle that seems to follow her people everywhere, they still have hope and are proud of being a member of the "wonderful, beautiful Negro race." One thing I've realized after reading this book is that just because an African American woman wrote this book doesn't mean it is about SLAVERY and longing to be FREE, but it can also be a lesson about LIFE and give you another perspective of viewing it. This is why I would say that for readers of color, this book would be just a piece of history; but for others it is a lesson of life. ...read more.

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