Review Of Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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Angelou began her writing career in the midst of one of the greatest upheavals of social change in U.S. history. American society, though based on freedom and democracy, had always been dominated by white males. During the 1960s, the civil rights movement reached its pinnacle. Many organizations were formed to publicize the surge for racial equality. Angelou had married the civil rights activist Vusumzi Make and moved to Cairo and then Ghana, where a thriving group of African American expatriates had moved. She met the radical civil rights activist Malcolm X during one of his visits to Ghana and corresponded with him frequently after he returned to the United States. Their discussions of the civil rights movement in America were highly conceptual, …show more content…
According to Angelou, the African American family was almost always held together entirely by the woman. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) became a great inspiration to black feminists, especially since the experiences of black women have been so different from those of white women. The poem “Still I Rise” is written specifically with a feminine voice. It gives praise to the black woman's courage, identity, and self-worth. It recognizes the pain and hardships she has had to overcome and her emergence as a force to be reckoned with. Among Angelou's other poems, “Phenomenal Woman” is the black woman's feminist outcry. Angelou proclaims that being a woman is not about being pretty and that women are beautiful because they are strong, capable, proud, and independent. “Weekend Glory” is a humorous guidebook to living a successful life as a single black woman. Therein Angelou expounds on the blessing of work (even if it is not the highest paying), staying out of debt, going to church, going dancing, and being thankful for being a woman of color. She calls out posers and those who pretend to be rich, buying fancy cars and houses they cannot afford. She says such people should watch her on Saturday night and thus learn how to live a glorious and simple life. “Our Grandmothers” is one of Angelou's most beloved poems, recalling stories of slave women and their children who hid from slave owners when the children became old enough to be sold. The poet chronicles the stories of black women over the centuries and the tears that followed the heartbreaks in their lives. From tortured slave to poverty-stricken pregnant woman at the abortion clinic, the poem is both heartrending and triumphant, as the black grandmother becomes the angel to watch over the new generations of strong, independent black

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