Summary Of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography by Maya Angelou, Ritie (Maya), the main female character, is raised mostly by other female characters, who each teacher her how to cope with different situations and problems in life. Ritie’s relationships with her three strongest, female relatives help her grow up to be a survivor, because they each teacher her to have a characteristic of themselves; Momma teaches Ritie to be disciplined and moral, Grandmother Baxter teaches Ritie about sinisterness and power, while Mother Dear teaches Ritie to be independent and have hedonism. Annie Henderson, or Momma, is Ritie’s mother-figure, throughout most of her childhood and the book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This influence conditions and …show more content…
Grandmother Baxter was, at first, dauntless, pragmatic, and shady. This first Grandmother Baxter taught Ritie that family takes care of and protects family, that business is business, and that to have power and control over others is good. For example, after the family found out about Ritie being assaulted by Mr. Freeman, the Baxters made sure that he was taken care of (killed), and with Grandmother Baxter’s connections in her shady business work, this murder was left unsolved and kept on the down-low. This shocked Ritie, and made her realized the fullness of the power of family. But when Ritie returned to the Baxter family later, Grandmother Baxter was not as she remembered; she was chronically-ill and forcefully dependent on “willies”. This second Grandmother Baxter, who Ritie had to share a room with, taught Ritie to adapt to where she was and how life had to be. For example, when Ritie first returned and started sleeping with Grandmother Baxter, she barely could get any sleep due to Grandmother Baxter’s constant coughing and need to smoke, filling the air with toxic nicotine, making it hard for Ritie to even breathe. But as time went on, since there was no ability to change the living situation at the time, Ritie adapted to what she was dealt and learned how to cope with how she had to …show more content…
Mother Dear was a free-spirited, independent, hedonistic, and somewhat of an irresponsible mom. She did not take part in Ritie’s or Bailey’s lives, until young adulthood, and when they were with her, their day plans were not the safest. But she did try her best to provide, when she could, entertainment, food, and safety for her children. Also, though Mother Dear was not Ritie’s favorite at first, she did eventually become a real mom to her, and taught her how to get what she wanted, be independent, and confident, all without the need for a man. For example, after staying with Mother Dear for a while Ritie went to live with her father for sometime, during her visit Ritie and her father went on a trip to Mexico. During this trip Ritie was forced to be independent from her father, in a foreign place, and drive, underaged and uneducated about driving, and then later try to deal with a car accident, and trying to communicate people and authority by herself. All this called for Ritie’s education of confidence, independence, and ability to take control to get what she wanted, which in the situation was just to get home and out of a strange and scary foreign place

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