Know Why the Cage Bird Sings
I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings, a 1979 movie directed by Fielder Cook, is a renowned autobiographical account of Maya Angelou's youth. Based on Maya Angelou's best selling novel, this film takes place during the Great Depression. The story takes place in a bigoted, vicious town in Stamps, Arkansas where Maya and her brother, Bailey, grow up with their grandmother and uncle. The family is forced to deal with racism from the KKK as well as other whites in the society. Maya begins school and proudly excels academically. Maya is pushed back and forth between her mother and grandmother's house, not being able to situate herself either way. The turning point of the movie is when Maya is sexually attacked and with draws into total silence, thinking that her words would do harm to the people around her. Not much could be done but finally her teacher inspires her and is able to get Maya speaking once more. Maya makes a wonderful valedictory speech at her graduation, being able to express her feelings and emotions. The events from her youth to her graduation, serve to illustrate the lesson of not letting someone else define who and what you are. I enjoyed watching I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings because it chronicles Maya Angelou's youth while learning about the general troubles encountered as a young black woman. The movie is separated into episodes, each leading up to the climatic scene at the end. Angelou slowly builds tension around the graduation by relating the children's excitement and the parent pride. The overall structure of Cage Bird shows Angelou overcoming a series of problems to reach the powerful climax at the end. I believe that the lesson the movie was trying to portray through Maya's youth was illustrated nicely through the powerful, emotional, and suspenseful scenes. This movie was enjoyable to watch, made possible by the background music and the great actors and actresses who created this movie.
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