“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
In Maya Angelou's autobiographical novel, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", tenderhearted Marguerite Johnson discovers all of the splendors and agonies of growing up in a prejudiced, early twentieth century America. Rotating between the slow country life of Stamps, Arkansas and the fast-pace societies in St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, California taught Maya several random aspects of life while showing her segregated America from coast to coast. When Maya was three years old, her mother sent her and Bailey from California to Stamps to stay in the care of their grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson. Soon thought of as their real mother, "Momma" raised her grandchildren with the strict Southern principles such as, "wash your feet before you go to bed; always pray to the savior and you shall be forgiven; chores and school come before play; and help those in need and you shall be helped yourself." Bearing those basic principles, Maya and Bailey grew older and wiser in Stamps.
However, one day their father rode extravagantly into Stamps and called for his children to return home with him to St. Louis. Bailey, eager to leave the simple family life in Arkansas, agreed immediately, but "tender-hearted" Maya was frightened by the idea of big cities and strange people. In St. Louis, where she was presented an entirely different lifestyle, Maya experienced harrowing moments that caused her yearning for the quiet safety of Stamps. Her mother’s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, sexually abused her twice, and when she testified in court against him, the "important connections" her mother had to the gangsters in St. Louis beat Mr. Freeman to death to disburden the shame from the family. In court, Maya lied, saying that he only touched her once, and the guilt of lying to her closest friend, her brother Bailey, cause Maya to mute herself. Exasperated by a gloomy and morbid girl, Maya and Bailey were shipped