I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Essay

1089 Words Dec 3rd, 2014 5 Pages
Maya Angelou 's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings:
A Story of a Strong Spirit Maya Angelou 's 1969 novel I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is centered upon the hardships and feelings of Angelou herself while she was growing up in the early 1930’s and subsequently in California during the 1940s. Recurring universal themes in this novel include race and appearance, sexual abuse, and abandonment, which tie the story together and help readers understand and relate to the story.The autobiography begins with a calamitous divorce between her mother, Vivian Baxter, and her father, Bailey Johnson. With this, her father decides to send Bailey (her older brother) and herself off to Stamps, Arkansas, where they will be looked over by their grandmother, “Momma”. Throughout the novel, she describes herself as a precocious but insecure black girl. She finds herself afflicted by the belief that she is an ugly black child who will never mount up to beautiful, white girls nor other black children. When Angelou is eight, her father, of whom she can not remember, unexpectedly takes her and Bailey to live with their mother in St. Louis, Missouri. One morning their mother’s live-in boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, sexually molests Angelou, and later rapes her. They go to court and afterward Mr. Freeman is violently murdered. Feeling guilty and ashamed of the whole situation, Angelou stops speaking to everyone except Bailey. Shortly after. she and Bailey return to Stamps to live with Momma. Angelou…

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