Why the Caged Bird Sings

Length: 6 Pages 1380 Words

Why it’s titled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings depicts the harsh childhood that the author, Maya Angelou, was subject to. The title of the book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, relates to a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar titled Sympathy. The title simply means that Maya can relate to a caged bird singing. In essence, she has been caged because she lives in an era that is plagued by racism and because she is of the so-called, ‘weaker’ sex. She relates to the reason the bird sings in the conclusion of the book by accepting her race and womanhood for what it is, and she, like the caged bird, will continue to sing despite the fact that she is captive; simply because she has hope that one day she will be ‘released’ from a world of racism. Throughout the book she finds herself in unfortunate situations sometimes caused by her race. However, she always looks towards the positive side, even when she is subject to blatant abuse. She finds joy reading, like the caged bird does with singing, because it brings her hope. At the beginning of the book, we can see how far Maya's reality has been distorted by racism. Maya believes that by wearing a dress that she would look 'like one of the sweet l Continue...


Even on graduation day, racism made itself present. Segregation, very much a part of prejudice, was so extreme that Maya remembered 'never believing that whites were really real. At this point, Maya feels she is imprisoned in a body that is not only black, but also female. Throughout most of her childhood, Maya has trouble identifying with her father. Henry Reed, the valedictorian, gave a speech after the speech of Mr. ' Maya would fantasize that her 'real hair, which was long and blond, would take the place of the kinky mass that Momma wouldn't let her straighten' and her 'light blues eyes' would replace the eyes that were 'small and squinty. While she is helped by the wealthy black woman named Mrs. In Stamps, the people all listened to Joe Louis's fight in a boxing match. With the conclusion of the book, Maya finds herself pregnant. He was usually away and when they spend time together with his new girlfriend, she loses touch with him. It hurt Maya deeply to see Momma resign herself to white people's insults. People in Stamps believed in the racism so much, that the whites 'were so prejudiced that a Negro couldn't buy vanilla ice cream, except on July Fourth'.