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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The purpose of this research is to examine the I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The plan of the research will be to set forth the general outline of the memoir, and then to focus on the relationship between Maya's urban life and rural life, as well as on the connection between her family structure and the rest of the story.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an account of Maya Angelou's childhood and adolescence, which begins with her earliest memories in Arkansas and ends in her seventeenth year in San Francisco. At the age of three, when her parents separate, Marguerite is put on a segregated cross-country train with her four-year-old brother Bailey. Together, they travel from Long Beach, California, to Stamps, Arkansas. At "the Store," owned by her paternal grandmother, Marguerite--whose name is shortened to Maya because it is easier for Bailey to pronounce--begins to store the memories that construct her life in the black America of the 1930s.

In the rural cotton-farming environment of Stamps, not far from Texarkana, Maya's life is something of an anomaly. although her moral and social upbringing is more or less conventionally determined, by the combination of Momma's devout Christian fundamentalist attitudes on one hand and the received wisdom and ghost-story superstitions of blacks of the rural South on the other (140). While most rural blacks are poor sharecroppers, domestic servants, or seasonal farm laborers, Maya's grandmother (Momma), owns the building and the Store that sits on it, adopting the role now of general-merchandise retailer at the only Negro-owned store in Stamps, now of local moneylender to both blacks and whites, now of parishioner among the "missionary ladies" of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. Living with Momma and their Uncle Willie, Maya and Bailey never go hungry, and they devour every book in sight, although Momma makes many of Maya's clothes from hand-me-down dresses from th...

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:25, May 28, 2020, from