A Lifetime of Influence Marguerite Johnson had a harsh childhood growing up in the South during the days of cotton picking and slavery. All of the adversity she encountered when she was young inspired her to write the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In it, she depicts what life was like growing up in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas, and illustrates the daily hardships that were roadblocks throughout her life. Many people help her overcome these obstructions in her young life, but it was the people closest to her who enable her to rise above the adversity she faced. Although a vast number of people came into and out of her life, only a few made a lasting impression on her. Bailey, Mrs. Flowers, and Momma were the biggest role models throughout her childhood and also had the most positive influences on her.
Bailey had a very unique relationship with Maya; they grew up together and shared everything. They were inseparable and experienced everything side by side. Whenever they got into trouble, they experienced it together and, if they didn't do it together, they were punished equally anyway. When Maya said "by the way,"� Momma not only whipped Maya for cursing, but she whipped Bailey and their friend Junior as well without a reason. She whipped all three of them so they all would know what would happen to them if they cursed. In Momma's eyes Bailey and Maya were to be treated equally because she wanted to raise both of them the same, thus when one was punished the other one was too. When Bailey experienced sex for the first time with Vivian, Maya was right there outside the tent. There was nothing that they didn't do together, and when they grew distant as they aged, Maya confessed that it was one of her most painful experiences. During a volatile time in her life, Bailey was the one she turned to. After Mr. Freeman raped her, she was traumatized and shut everyone out, except Bailey. He was the only one she felt comfortable talking to and that shows how...
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