I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Racism

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Throughout I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings there were many themes such as racism and segregation, strong black women, and literature. The strongest theme addressed in the book was racism and segregation. Racism and segregation was shown in just about every aspect of the book.

A major example of to this theme is presented by how Maya and her family lived in the black side of Stamps. Their side of town is all dirt roads and broken down, while the white side of town the roads are paved and everything is nice and extremely well kept. Another example is how the powhitetrash little girls go to Momma’s store just to mock Momma. Since Momma was black the little girls thought it would be funny to make fun of her.

Racism plays a big part in the book and is best shown when Momma and Maya go to the white side of Stamps. They go to a dentist for Maya, but he is white and refuses to help. In the book dentist Lincoln say, “Annie, my policy is I’d rather stick my hand in a dog’s mouth than in a nigger’s.”(pg.189) That just goes to show the biggest highlight of racism.

With racism and segregation being presented in this book it pacts a bigger impact on the reader. The theme also highlights extremely rough times that the blanks went through. They didn’t get the best of anything and they were treated like animals by the white people. Although, going through all that they still held their heads high, made the best of what they had, and were proud to be who they were.
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