I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 1) Summary of Character Traits
a) School smart (Maya is smart. When she moves to San Francisco from Stamps, Arkansas, she is skipped a grade.
b) Caring sister (she always talks of her devotion to Baily)
c) Determined (she wants to get a Job with the streetcar company and she keeps bugging them until they finally give her a Job)
d) Proud (she lives with the Junkyard kids instead of going back to her father’s; she slaps Dolores for calling her mother a whore)
a) African American, tall, skinny, small and squinty eyes, big feet, large ap between her front teeth, black hair
3) What The Character Wants
a) Maya wants, ultimately, for her family to be happy.
She wants the segregation of blacks to end (she is disgusted when young white girls call her grandmother by her first name).
4) How the Character Changes
a) After being raped, Maya stops talking as much
b) After spending time living in the Junkyard, Maya learns tolerance, which will help her through out her life. She matures from a young girl to a mother, as well.
c) Becomes more mature once she gets her Job with the street ars
5) Key Statements About the Character
a) “Ritie, dont worry Ocause you ain’t pretty. Plenty of pretty women I seen digging ditches or worse.
You smart. I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind. ” (p. 56)
b) “In those moments I decided that although Baily loved me he couldn’t help. 0 1 knew that because I loved him so much I could never hurt him” (p. 73)
6) Key Actions
a) Father comes to Stamps and takes them to their mother
b) Moves back to Stamps, then to SF
c) Drives home from Mexico
d) Slaps Dolores br; e) Stays with the Junkyard people
f) Gets pregnant
7) What Others Think Of the Character
a) When they are younger, Baily really looks out for Maya.
As they grow up, and after she spends time with her father, they drift apart.
b) Her grandmother loves Maya very much, and knows that she is a very smart girl with a lot of potential.
c) Her mother seems to care much more about her than her father did.
Thesis Statement: Maya Angelou faces many hardships, yet manages to overcome them all, in her autobiography, “l Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
br>Maya Angelou faces many hardships, yet manages to overcome them all, in her autobiography, “l Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Maya is a strong willed, often stubborn, outgoing, somewhat outspoken, and rather intelligent girl. She becomes very tolerant due to some of her experiences. She also matures faster mentally than many other girls her age because of her situation and experiences.
From the time she was young and through adolescence, Maya considered herself ugly. She was a tall, somewhat lanky African American. She was skinny, and felt that her eyes were too small and squinty. She was also ashamed of her large feet. r;
Throughout the story, Maya is discouraged by the segregation of the blacks. For a long time she is denied the Job that she wishes to have because of the color of her skin. Also, she wants her family to be together and to be happy. She is separated from her parents at a young age and lives with her grandmother and uncle for most of her childhood. When she is with her parents, she tends to feel secondary. There is always something a touch more important that she and her brother Baily.
autobiography, “l Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. When the book begins, Angelou is a young child, a mere three years old. As she grows up, though somewhat sheltered by her grandmother’s position as a general store owner, her eyes are opened to the current ways of the South. Blacks are lesser people that whites, and that was the way it was for her. On several occasions she watched in horror as young girls called her grandmother by her first name, when they should have been respectful and at lease used “Miss”. Once breaking the segregation barrier for herself, she gets a Job with the Streetcar Company.
Having a Job, and the responsibility that comes with it, she mentally matures faster than the other children her age. While living with her mother he first time, Maya is molested by her mother’s boyfriend. After this, she becomes almost completely silent. She avoids talking as much as possible, which is a contrast to her previous behavior. Maya spends time living with other children in a Junkyard after her father asks her to leave. He asks her to leave because she and his girlfriend, Dolores, get into a fght and Dolores hurts Maya.
After spending time with those children, she learns tolerance and matures more. Also, after becoming pregnant and realizing that she is responsible for another human life, she matures even more and becomes more responsible.
br>Maya and her brother Baily were very close during their childhood and most of their adolescence. Baily was always proud of Maya for her intelligence, even though at times she wished she could have forfeited it for good looks. Baily expresses his pride by saying, “[Maya], don’t worry Ocause you ain’t pretty. Plenty of pretty women I mind than cute behind. (p. 56)
After being raped, Maya wishes to protect her brother. She doesn’t want anything to happen to him because, according to her, she isn’t as good of a person as she should be. Through out her life