I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a novel by Maya Angelou, where she writes about her childhood and her experiences while growing up. This non-fiction novel illustrates Maya Angelou’s childhood, being tossed around by her parents, and having to experience different cultures. Maya struggles particularly in finding friends, she is reserved, and will only open up to Bailey, her brother. Maya moves a couple of times to different places, which may contribute to her not having friends. The novel revolves around Maya Angelou, Bailey, and her grandmother, evolving through life from being a child to a teenager. This novel is set in the “South”, in America.
Maya Angelou describes what her life with her grandmother is like while constantly being discriminated against her race. She then found her father, and he leaves Maya and Bailey off to their mother’s house. There, the mother’s boyfriend rapes Maya. After suffering from psychological shock, Maya then moves back to her grandmother’s. As a teenager Maya gets nervous about her sexual identity and tries to discover it. Through these harsh times, the naïve and softhearted Maya grows to become a strong, independent woman.
A major theme in this book is about God. Seen in, “If there is going to be hope and a hope of wholeness, is the unshaking need for an unshakeable God.” (23) Maya’s grandma is a firm believer of God, and since Maya moves in with her, she forces Maya to go to church every Sunday. Even through all the trials and tribulations, Maya still believes and has faith in this “Unshakeable God.” Through all her sadness and pain, she never questions or second-guesses the existence of a Good God. Moreover, with Maya’s grandmother’s ceaseless physical and mental support, Maya can withstand anything. Another prominent theme in this novel is love. Especially love among siblings, such as Bailey and Maya. This is how Maya describes Bailey, “His hair fell down in black curls, and my head was covered with black steel wool. And yet he loved me.” (22) Bailey is the perfect big brother, he takes care of Maya because he feels responsible to replace their absent parents, he defends her when people compare Maya to Bailey, and he provides her with emotional support. However, growing up Bailey starts to change. He becomes more private, and he doesn’t talk as much. Maya gets very worried, but she gives him some space anyway.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a title based on a Maya Angelo’s poem. The poem is about racial discrimination,...