Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Length: 3 Pages 662 Words

Response paper to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou ”It was awful to be Negro and have no control over my life. It was brutal to be young and already trained to sit quietly and listen to charges brought against my color with no chance of defense. We should all be dead.” These words pretty much sum up my overall impression of the authors main issues described in the book. Blacks stood below whites, and in some way, it seems the negro population almost had given up the struggle to gain pride and a solid position in society. They are words of failure and surrender, in a sense. The person behind the quote is Maya Angelou, a black woman who throughout half a century has tried to describe the situation negroes had and still have. She has been honored with several awards, has met two presidents and was selected to be a black respresentative for Martin Luther King jr:s struggle during the sixties. You can without a doubt say that she has made great impact on Continue...


For several years she doesn't say a word. The book tells a true story about her childhood. The descriptions of her feelings as a child, seeing all the injustice and what the blacks were thought of, are very touching. Being only three years old, she and her older brother are sent away by thier parents from St. Louis compared to Stamps, she doesn't feel very much at home. As the whole book is written through a child's persepctive, Maya's feelings are easy to understand and somewhat easy to relate to. people in general, by putting much effort into trying to make people really understand the opression the negro population has been through. Although she doesn't have an alternate society to compare with, something is instinctively wrong. She is very descriptive in her writing, which is very evident in I Know why the Caged Bird Sings. Because of the tragic event of her being raped, she becomes a mute. They live in the black part of town with their grandmother (Momma) and an uncle who is physically disabled. I found it very interesting to get to realise what a child must have felt and Maya Angelou shows this in an extra-ordinary way. At several occassions she mentions how much she wants to return to Stamps, and when she one day is sexually abused by her step-father, she and Bailey finally move back. How many more childhoods must be shattered before people take action against the oppression and mindless violence . She doesn't quite understand everything that goes on, but she certainly knows that alot of things are not right.