Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is her first book dedicated to "all the strong black birds of promise who defy the odds and gods and sing their songs." The cage represents a life of racism, poverty, illiteracy and dysfunction. The black birds represent the certain people in the book who overcome these odds and still sing their songs. In this book, Angelou tells us stories of her dysfunctional family, her low self-esteem and her experience with rape and abuse. After all that she goes through, she still rises above this way of life and becomes someone great and successful. She still "sings" even though her life is that of a "caged bird." In her novel, Angelou writes about herself and others that have risen above the odds to become quite remarkable people considering the resources and circumstances that they were afforded.
[...] This is another chapter in her life where she just picks herself up emotionally and physically and moves on. While staying with her mother again, Maya decides she needs a job. She wants to be a streetcar conductorette in San Francisco. She goes to the office to apply for the position where she is treated as if they did not want to bother to make the effort to accept her application, but Maya perseveres. She goes back to that office every single day until they hire her. [...]
[...] I'll take ten dollars as payment in full.” Momma always finds a way to strive to beat the odds that are against her, showing Maya and Bailey that they can survive through the most trying of times. Finally, the caged bird that sings loudest of all in this book is Maya Angelou. Maya is growing up in the Great Depression in Stamps, Arkansas, an extremely poor town where most black people are still performing slave- like jobs and her peers are all just as poor or poorer than she. [...]
[...] The kids became an invaluable lesson in Maya's life by showing her how some people can cope with their unfortunate situation and rise above it. Another black bird in the cage of life that plays an integral part of Maya's life is Momma. Momma is Maya's paternal grandmother who is raising her. She is a successful black woman who owns her own store where all of the people in town shop. She does not let herself or her family be taken advantage of. [...]
[...] Maya turns to reading as an escape, and ultimately this is part of what makes her who she is as a person. Maya is extremely intelligent. She reads so much that she began to have love of authors such as Shakespeare, Kipling, Poe, Butler, Thackeray and Henley. One summer at the summer picnic fish fry, she asks her grandmother if she could bring a book instead of playing with the other children and Momma said, I didn't want to play with the other children I could make myself useful by cleaning fish or bringing water from the nearest well or wood for the barbecue.” (138). [...]
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