I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
In her novel, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”, Maya states “The black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and the lack of black power”. Fortunately Maya was able to move beyond the crossfire, proving that she overcomes opposition that her status throws her way.
Being a young black girl in the 1940’s was not the easiest thing to be. At that time, the two kinds of people who were believed to be of little or no importance were blacks and women. Throughout the book Maya never really accepted the fact that she was not going to get anywhere because of her status. She always tried to be the best in whatever she did, and always felt that she was just as good as or even better than many of the white people. It was not until she went to live with her mother that she really put action behind her feelings.
After Bailey’s departure, Maya felt that “it was going to be impossible to stay where she was, but leaving held no attraction for her either.” (Chap 34, pg 264, line 2) Eventually she decided to go to work. She had her mind set on becoming a streetcar driver. Even though her mother warned her that they didn’t hire coloreds, she was determined just as well. When she went to apply for the job, the white receptionist put great effort into discouraging her, mainly because she was black. However, this did not discourage Maya. She was even more determined to get the job, and swore “I would have the job. I would a conductorette and sling a full money changer from my belt.” (pg 268, line 3)
With persistence she was able to get the job and overcome the opposition her status as a black female threw her way. I think that the “crossfire” was what made her strong enough to stand up to those who found...
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