I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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In the autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the main character Marguerite, also known as Maya is influenced a great deal by those around her. Throughout her young life, Maya watches and learns from her older brother Bailey, as well as her guardian and grandmother, Annie Henderson to whom Maya and Bailey refer as "Momma". Though later in her preteen and adolescent years, Maya finds refuge in the strength and intelligence of Ms. Bertha Flowers and in high school Maya grows to respect and admire a teacher, Miss Kirwin, except for the sporadic presence of Maya's Mother, Vivian Baxter, Maya most heavily depends on Bailey, Momma Henderson, and Ms. Flowers for guidance in her childhood years. First and foremost, Maya adheres to the strength of her older brother, Bailey Jr. Bailey serves as the most important role in the protagonist's young life. In the autobiography, Maya quickly states, "I would be the major loser if Bailey turned up dead. For he was all I claimed, if not all I had." Bailey is one year Maya's senior; however, it makes no difference for they both share many of the same interests, such as reading poems and playing games. Maya feels comfortable asking Bailey for advice, and therefore trusts Bailey with all of her honest emotions. Even through Maya's period of silence to the outside world following her rape, she is not afraid to speak to her brother. From Bailey Marguerite derives immense confidence over the span of their childhood together. Secondary only to Bailey, Annie Henderson influences her granddaughter as an awe-inspiring role model. Momma displays a deep faith and much self respect. In chapter 24, Momma takes Maya to a white dentist and demands that he help relieve her horrible toothache. When he refuses to help them, Momma goes inside to speak with him; Though Maya's estimation of the encounter differs somewhat from reality, the entire incident helps to instill in Maya a strong sense of self worth and confidence as well as in pride...
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