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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Oct 08, 1999 520 Words
In the autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the main character Marguerite Johnson, is influenced by a preponderance of characters including Bailey Jr. , Momma Henderson, and Mrs. Bertha Flowers. One of the primary influences is her older brother, Bailey Jr.. Momma, or Annie Henderson, the parental grandmother, also plays an important role for Maya. Additionally, Mrs. Flowers, the black aristocrat of Stamps, saves Maya during an especially difficult time. All in all, these three characters act as important roles in the development of Marguerite through her juvenile years. <br>

<br>First, Bailey Jr. serves as the most significant role in the protagonist's young life. In the novel, Maya distinguishably 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 senior to the main character, however, it makes no difference, for they both share many of the same interests, such as reading poems and playing games. When Angelou was eight, she and Bailey moved to St. Louis to live with their mother Vivian, and her mother's boyfriend Mr. Freeman; soon after, Mr. Freeman sexually molests and rapes the young child; after such a horrid experience, the central character only speaks to Bailey who comforts and supports her. To sum up, Bailey gives much confidence to Marguerite throughout their childhood together. <br>

<br>Second, Annie Henderson influences her granddaughter as an all powerful role model. For example, "Momma," takes Ritie to a white dentist and demands that he help her, he refuses and says, " Annie, my policy it I'd rather stick my hand in a dog's mouth than in a niggar's." therefore; Momma goes inside to speak with him; Ritie imagines this entire milieu where Momma has victory. Ritie is also amazed at how well Momma adjusts to Los Angeles after living all her life in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas. All in all, Momma plays an important role in Ritie's up-bringing. <br>

<br>Another powerful figure in the leading character's life is Mrs. Bertha Flowers, who gains trust from the young lady. Mrs. Flowers was the first person to prod Maya out of her silence after being painstakingly raped. The aristocrat makes Angelou feel proud to be black under any circumstances. Mrs. Flowers loans the main character several books and assigns her the task of reading them aloud; she also requests that Angelou memorize a poem to recite it aloud. Finally, Mrs. Bertha Flowers gains the young child's respect by making the child feel important. <br>

<br>In conclusion, Marguerite is influenced the most by these three characters: Momma Henderson, Bailey Jr., and Mrs. Bertha Flowers. Primarily, Bailey is greatly valued because he nurtures and builds Maya's self-esteem. Second, Momma Henderson is perceived as a mighty personage since she has raised the central character throughout most of her childhood. Finally, Mrs. Flowers fabricates the young girl independence because she makes Maya feel meaningful. All of these people supported young Maya throughout her childhood, and influenced the child's personality.

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