My Reaction to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou once proclaimed in an interview, “All my work is meant to say, ‘You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated’” (Anthology). This statement holds especially true in her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her inspirational coming of age story is filled with many defeats that shaped her into the independent and compassionate woman she became. After reading this book, I found there to be many meaningful areas that opened up my eyes and made me think again about my own personal and professional development. In addition, it allowed me to inquire more questions and wanted me to learn more about Maya Angelou’s path to greatness.
There were many significant parts in Angelou’s autobiography that dealt with the issues of racism, sexism, violence, and loneliness. In my opinion, the parts that dealt with these various issues were most meaningful because they are controversial issues that Angelou was courageous enough to write about. From the start of the book, Angelou expresses her racist views when she is in church and fantasizes that one day she will wake up out of her “black ugly dream.” This part of the book foreshadows the rest of the racist events that will occur throughout the novel. For instance, the time when Angelou goes to the dentist with her Momma, the dentist says he would rather stick his hand in the mouth of a dog than in her mouth. Later in the book, Angelou discusses how she is raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She does not speak for five years because of this sexual assault. Later on, when her silence is broken, Angelou is involved with a violent attack. This time it is her father’s girlfriend who stabs her with scissors out of pure jealousy. Throughout the book Angelou feels alone because she has insecurities about the way that she looks and the color of her skin. Her loneliness is drawn out more after she is raped because she puts the blame on herself....
References: Angelou, M. (1997). I know why the caged bird sings. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
Douglass, F. (2004). The norton anthology of african american literature. (2 ed.). New York New York: W.W. Norton and company.
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