✪✪✪ I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis



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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Book Review

The changes the readers find throughout the novel lead up to the, discovering how those changes altered Maya throughout her life. For some, they have no one to set good examples. By analyzing this text, we will take a deeper look into not only what the text says but what I feel is the underlying meaning behind the words Angelou wrote. In this paper,. Fily Thiam English Mrs. When a friend introduces her to poetry, Marguerite is ecstatic. As Marguerite grows up, she struggles with having a person like her for who she is.

Marguerite is a talkative young girl, living with her grandmother, in the Stamps. Marguerite is obsessed with canned pineapples. Her grandmother awards her with these pineapples when she does well with something, or they eat them on special holidays, like Christmas. Braxton sees Caged Bird as "the fully developed black female autobiographical form that began to emerge in the s and s". She went through with it, anyway, after her husband Paul Du Feu advised her to be honest about it. Angelou has recognized that there are fictional aspects to her books, and that she tends to "diverge from the conventional notion of autobiography as truth". She stated, "Sometimes I make a diameter from a composite of three or four people, because the essence in only one person is not sufficiently strong to be written about.

As Hagen states, "One can assume that 'the essence of the data' is present in Angelou's work". Angelou uses two distinct voices, the adult writer and the child who is the focus of the book, whom Angelou calls "the Maya character". Angelou reports that maintaining the distinction between herself and the Maya character is "damned difficult", but "very necessary". According to Lupton, the two books share the following similarities: a focus on young strong-willed heroines who have solid relationships with their brothers, an examination of the role of literature in life, and an emphasis on the importance of family and community life.

She'd set the bar high. Her ambition was to write a book that would honor the Black experience and affirm the 'human spirit. She wrote a coming-of-age story that has become a modern classic". Walker, was thematic unity. One of Angelou's goals was to create a book that satisfied this criterion, in order to achieve her political purposes, which were to demonstrate how to resist racism in America. The structure of the text, which resembles a series of short stories, is not chronological but rather thematic. According to Walker, critics had neglected analyzing its structure, choosing to focus instead on its themes, which he feels neglects the political nature of the book.

He states, "One serves Angelou and Caged Bird better by emphasizing how form and political content work together". The progression Maya goes through thematically unifies the book, something that "stands in contrast to the otherwise episodic quality of the narrative". For example, the incident with the "powhitetrash" girls takes place in chapter 5, when Maya was ten years old, well before Angelou's recounting of her rape in chapter 12, which occurred when Maya was 8.

Walker explains that Angelou's purpose in placing the vignettes in this way is that it followed her thematic structure. However, Hagen notes that instead of beginning Caged Bird chronologically, with Maya and Bailey's arrival in Stamps, Angelou begins the book much later chronologically by recounting an embarrassing experience at church, an incident that demonstrates Maya's diminished sense of self, insecurity, and lack of status.

The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of male prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power. In the course of Caged Bird , Maya, who has been described as "a symbolic character for every black girl growing up in America", [1] goes from being a victim of racism with an inferiority complex to a self-aware individual who responds to racism with dignity and a strong sense of her own identity. Feminist scholar Maria Lauret states that the "formation of female cultural identity" is woven into the book's narrative, setting Maya up as "a role model for Black women". Maya's unsettled life in Caged Bird suggests her sense of self "as perpetually in the process of becoming, of dying and being reborn, in all its ramifications".

As Lauret indicates, Angelou and other female writers in the late s and early s used autobiography to reimagine ways of writing about women's lives and identities in a male-dominated society. Up until this time, Black women were not depicted realistically in African-American fiction and autobiography, meaning that Angelou was one of the first Black autobiographers to present, as Cudjoe put it, "a powerful and authentic signification of [African-American] womanhood in her quest for understanding and love rather than for bitterness and despair".

As French and Lessing do in their novels, Angelou employs the narrator as protagonist and depends upon "the illusion of presence in their mode of signification". As a displaced girl, Maya's pain is worsened by an awareness of her displacement. She is "the forgotten child", and must come to terms with "the unimaginable reality" of being unloved and unwanted; [49] she lives in a hostile world that defines beauty in terms of whiteness and that rejects her simply because she is a Black girl. Maya internalizes the rejection she has experienced — her belief in her own ugliness was "absolute".

Angelou uses her many roles, incarnations, and identities throughout her books to illustrate how oppression and personal history are interrelated. For example, in Caged Bird , Angelou demonstrates the "racist habit" [47] of renaming African Americans, as shown when her white employer insists on calling her "Mary". Angelou describes the employer's renaming as the "hellish horror of being 'called out of [one's] name'". Maya understands that she is being insulted and rebels by breaking Mrs. Cullinan's favorite dish, but feels vindicated when, as she leaves her employer's home, Mrs. Cullinan finally gets her name right.

Contrasted with her experience in Stamps, Maya is finally "in control of her fate". These two incidents give Maya a knowledge of self-determination and confirm her self-worth. Scholar Mary Burgher believes that female Black autobiographers like Angelou have debunked the stereotypes of African-American mothers as "breeder[s] and matriarch[s]", and have presented them as having "a creative and personally fulfilling role". Maya's feelings for and relationship with her own mother, whom she blames for her abandonment, express themselves in ambivalence and "repressed violent aggression". These strong feelings are not resolved until the end of the book, when Maya becomes a mother herself, and her mother finally becomes the nurturing presence for which Maya has longed.

Stamps, Arkansas, as depicted in Caged Bird , has very little "social ambiguity": it is a racist world divided between Black and white, male and female. Kelley calls Caged Bird a "gentle indictment of white American womanhood"; [68] Hagen expands it further, stating that the book is "a dismaying story of white dominance". Caged Bird has been called "perhaps the most aesthetically satisfying autobiography written in the years immediately following the Civil Rights era". Walker expresses a similar sentiment, and places it in the African-American literature tradition of political protest. Angelou's autobiographies, beginning with Caged Bird , contain a sequence of lessons about resisting oppression. The sequence she describes leads Angelou, as the protagonist, from "helpless rage and indignation to forms of subtle resistance, and finally to outright and active protest".

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom. Walker insists that Angelou's treatment of racism is what gives her autobiographies their thematic unity and underscores one of their central themes: the injustice of racism and how to fight it. For example, in Angelou's depiction of the "powhitetrash" incident, Maya reacts with rage, indignation, humiliation, and helplessness, but Momma teaches her how they can maintain their personal dignity and pride while dealing with racism, and that it is an effective basis for actively protesting and combating racism.

Angelou portrays Momma as a realist whose patience, courage, and silence ensured the survival and success of those who came after her. Cullinan, her white employer, and, later on in the book, breaks the race barrier to become the first black streetcar operator in San Francisco. At first Maya wishes that she could become white, since growing up Black in white America is dangerous; later she sheds her self-loathing and embraces a strong racial identity.

It should be clear, however, that this portrayal of rape is hardly titillating or "pornographic. Angelou's description of being raped as an eight-year-old child overwhelms the autobiography, although it is presented briefly in the text. Jacobs and Angelou both use rape as a metaphor for the suffering of African Americans; Jacobs uses the metaphor to critique slaveholding culture, while Angelou uses it to first internalize, then challenge, twentieth-century racist conceptions of the Black female body namely, that the Black female is physically unattractive.

Arensberg notes that Maya's rape is connected to the theme of death in Caged Bird , as Mr. Freeman threatens to kill Maya's brother Bailey if she tells anyone about the rape. After Maya lies during Freeman's trial, stating that the rape was the first time he touched her inappropriately, Freeman is murdered presumably by one of Maya's uncles and Maya sees her words as a bringer of death. As a result, she resolves never to speak to anyone other than Bailey. Angelou connects the violation of her body and the devaluation of her words through the depiction of her self-imposed, five-year-long silence. African-American literature scholar Selwyn R.

Cudjoe calls Angelou's depiction of the rape "a burden" of Caged Bird : a demonstration of "the manner in which the Black female is violated in her tender years and She also wanted to prevent it from happening to someone else, so that anyone who had been raped might gain understanding and not blame herself for it. As Lupton points out, all of Angelou's autobiographies, especially Caged Bird and its immediate sequel Gather Together in My Name , are "very much concerned with what [Angelou] knew and how she learned it".

Lupton compares Angelou's informal education with the education of other Black writers of the twentieth century, who did not earn official degrees and depended upon the "direct instruction of African American cultural forms". Angelou is influenced by writers introduced to her by Mrs. Angelou states, early in Caged Bird , that she, as the Maya character, "met and fell in love with William Shakespeare". Vermillion maintains that Maya finds comfort in the poem's identification with suffering. She is so involved in her fantasy world of books that she even uses them as a way to cope with her rape, [93] writing in Caged Bird , " I was sure that any minute my mother or Bailey or the Green Hornet would bust in the door and save me".

According to Walker, the power of words is another theme that appears repeatedly in Caged Bird. For example, Maya chooses to not speak after her rape because she is afraid of the destructive power of words. Flowers, by introducing her to classic literature and poetry, teaches her about the positive power of language and empowers Maya to speak again. The public library is a "quiet refuge" to which Maya retreats when she experiences crisis. Angelou was also powerfully affected by slave narratives , spirituals , poetry, and other autobiographies. In Caged Bird , Mrs. Flowers encourages her to listen carefully to "Mother Wit", [99] which Hagen defines as the collective wisdom of the African-American community as expressed in folklore and humor. Angelou's humor in Caged Bird and in all her autobiographies is drawn from Black folklore and is used to demonstrate that in spite of severe racism and oppression, Black people thrive and are, as Hagen states, "a community of song and laughter and courage".

These elements include the act of testimony when speaking of one's life and struggles, ironic understatement, and the use of natural metaphors, rhythms, and intonations. Hagen also sees elements of African American sermonizing in Caged Bird. Angelou's use of African-American oral traditions creates a sense of community in her readers, and identifies those who belong to it. The other volumes in her series of seven autobiographies are judged and compared to Caged Bird. By the end of , critics had placed Angelou in the tradition of other Black autobiographers. Poet James Bertolino asserts that Caged Bird "is one of the essential books produced by our culture". He insists that "[w]e should all read it, especially our children".

With the wind in his feathers, water and earth beneath him, and the whole sky with him, he feels majestic in his freedom and calls the entire sky his own domain. Here the sky stands for the universe. But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged, inversely, knows that he is not flying in the sky, that he is not free, but a captive, a prisoner.

He had lost all hope of freedom. It is more pitiable, more adverse than a nightmare. His wings are clipped and feet are tied; there is only a little hope of freedom, and so the bird opens his throat to sing. The bird wishes to travail against all adversities. There is a faint but kindling voice of hope in his song. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom. Moreover, the caged bird chooses to sing as this is the only freedom available to him, that he can enjoy without any restriction. His wings are clipped, feet are tied, but his throat is not chocked yet. Angelou, with the metaphor of birds, represents the inequality of justice seen in the society of her time which differentiates between the African-American community and its White American counterpart.

Through her poem, she also illustrates the nature of both freedom and captivity by creating a stark contrast between the two using birds as the metaphor. Maya Angelou can be regarded as the caged bird in the poem. A stanza in the poem is repeated to catch the attention to the idea of the caged bird singing for freedom. The poem uses a metaphor to compare caged birds to African Americans fighting for equality during the civil rights movement.

The first and the third stanza shows the delight of the free bird experiencing freedom, whereas the rest of the stanzas concentrate on the plight of the caged bird. Angelou puts greater emphasis on the lamentable state of the caged bird, and contrasts this with that of the free bird. Although the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has no definitive rhyme scheme, it creates the illusion of rhyme with the clever use of consonance.

The first and fourth stanzas have a happy tone and the rest are morose. He is still alive and despite being a prisoner, he can still use I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis voice. His voice can be heard from distant places, on hills where I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis inspires others to dream I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis freedom. If you read aloud you will realize the rising intonation from the I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis to the stressed I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis. Christianity In Oranges Words 6 Pages It is within this book that the people of The Role Of Women In The Epic Of Gilgamesh are taught how I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis what to think of many different aspects The Importance Of Covenant Marriage their lives.