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I know why the caged birds sing - IB Essay

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Introduction

1. I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing This is a story of a black woman named Maya, who had to go through very tough times, severe insults and emotional derailment as a child and grows out to be a strong individual, thanks to a few influential persons, she meets in her childhood and growing years. The story begins around the timeline of 1930s, with narration of Maya Angelou's experience of being rejected by her parents after their divorce. Her insecurity, gradually builds up during her stay in California in 1940s. With many ups and downs, she finds herself becoming stronger, at retaliating against racism. The divorce between Maya's parents happens, when she is just three years. Maya and her elder brother Bailey Johnson Jr are then transported to stay with their paternal grandmother named Annie Henderson, who is otherwise called as Momma by Maya and Bailey. She runs a store in Stamps, Arkansas and stays with a thirty year old son Willie Johnson, this is the place that gives Maya her identity and gets her out of depressing and insecure thoughts, before she finally finds solace in her stepfather's company. ...read more.

Middle

But she does communicate with her elder brother Bailey. Maya's mother's family assumes that this is a usual traumatic phase and keeps quiet for it to pass. But even after long time, Maya does not speak, making them frustrated and perceive her to be disrespecting their love and care towards her. All this while, she keeps talking to Bailey. Maya finds it relieving to return to Momma at Stamps, but Bailey is very regretful of this decision. Although Momma never seemed to be emotional with these children, she has a good rapport with them and manages to make Maya talk. She introduces Mrs. Bertha Flowers to Maya. Mrs. Bertha Flowers is a black aristocrat with many good collections of books on literature. She manages to divert Maya's attention to literature and soon Maya is idolizing her and pouring over literature books. She takes special interest in Maya and makes her read these books loud, to regain her lost self-confidence, thus helping Maya feel special. The years spent at Stamps build a strong character and give strength to Maya. She begins to understand the strength her community can display and also finds that, it is very fragile. ...read more.

Conclusion

Maya finds Clidell and his conman friends teaching new things and starts viewing racism in a different perspective, even that, it can be used for their own advantage. Clidell is not highly educated, but that does not stop him from being a successful businessman. Maya then spends a summer with her biological father Big Bailey, who is in Los Angeles with his live-in girlfriend Dolores Stockland. She is very hostile, jealous and proud by nature, but Maya, however decides to be compassionate towards her, which shows one of her strong individual characteristics, which is being merciful. She then runs away, to stay with a group of homeless teenagers for a month, after a fight with Dolores. Finally she returns to San Francisco with stronger resolve and assurance. She begins her fight against racism. During the war, she takes up a job as a streetcar conductor, against all policies for hiring Black people, at a tender age of fifteen. When she turns sixteen, she decides to hide her pregnancy from her mother and Clidell for about eight months. Graduation from high school instills new confidence in Maya, and so does her son's arrival. She is a proud, independent and compassionate mother of a newborn son. ...read more.

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