I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - ORP

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - ORP

In the novel, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, the young girl, Angelou herself goes through life pondering her self worth. In a world filled with segregation, the praise for white beauty, and teenage insecurities. In the beginning of the story, Angelou had said, "Wouldn't they be surprised when one day I woke up out of my black ugly dream" (2) because she desired to be someone she is not (a white girl), along with abusing her self-worth by believing that she truly is ugly. It isn't any different from today's society where girls feel as they are not as "beautiful" as what some may say/see. But that all changes when someone comes into your life and teaches you self-love and in this case of the story, it was the baby Angelou carried.

Rio RavalThaler, P5Nov. 24, 2015Outside Reading Project

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

"She encountered change, just for her."

After reading, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" it was quite inspiring. Angelou wrote about her childhood to the age of sixteen and the hardships she had faced.Through her writing you could signify the raw truth of racism, and rape. We live in a society where no one is perfect, nor do we have perfect lives. Angelou was one of many, that lived and breathed imperfection. So as I type this, I rate her novel a five. Angelou wrote each chapter like a teaser, intrigued by every line and word. But we as readers, realize the hard truth of an African-American girl that reading her words from her experience is unpleasant yet true. I highly recommend reading this novel, if you're a person who prefers raw truth than sugar coats.

Marguerite Johnson aka: Maya, is a girl who grew up insecure and felt out of place. As a child, she had once thought, "I knew immediately why she had sent me away. She was too beautiful to have children. I had never seen a woman as pretty as she who was called "Mother." (50) Without a parental figure, all she had was her brother Bailey. Along the lines, she finally finds herself. With her gapped teeth, small eyes, dry skinned, and love for books. She soon develops a passion for writing influenced by Bertha Flowers. Bailey Johnson is Maya's older brother. Ever since they were young, Bailey was known to be a future stud. With his curly black hair, smooth dark skin, and intelligence he had the full package. But in the cases of love, he felt that it was absent, especially from his mother. The Johnson sibilings felt as they were never worthy for their mother. "In later years I asked her if she loved me and she brushed me off with: "God is love. Just worry about whether you're being a good girl, then He will love you." (46) It was somehow morally wrong that their couldn't say it, especially to her own child. Bertha Flowers is an influential woman in Maya's life. After Maya was raped, her grandmother told Flower's about her reading. Reading was good but in the terms of Flower's, it wasn't good enough. "Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning. (82) Flowers read a portion of, "A Tale of Two Cities", and suddenly brought her out of her shell. Maya had thought, "It occured to me that she expected a response. The sweet vanilla flavor was still on my tongue and her reading was a wonder in my ears. I had to speak." (84) With Flower's love for teaching she introduced Maya to poetry, which eventually became the start of Maya's love for literatute.

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In the 1930's nothing was ever easy espcially for a black girl like Marguerite. In the time of chaos; the Great Depression and segregation in the South. It was time for the Johnson sibilings to flee Stamps, Arkansas, and off they went with their father to see their mother. "I had decided that St.Louis was a foreign country."(58) Stamps and St.Louis were nothing alike, it wasn't exactly the place to raise a family. And to make matters worst it traumatized the Johnson sibilings; Marguerite was molested and raped, as Bailey developed to stutter. No place was like home except for San Francisco, California. Marguerite had thought, "In San Francisco, for the first time, I perceived myself as part of something."(179) During this time, black people were finally being accepted. Migrants from the South would come up and spread their ideas and ambition, and of course earn money.



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