I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouSent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local powhitetrash. At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – review
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A free bird leaps on the back Of the wind and floats downstream Till the current ends and dips his wing In the orange suns rays And dares to claim the sky. But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage Can seldom see through his bars of rage His wings are clipped and his feet are tied So he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill Of things unknown but longed for still And his tune is heard on the distant hill for The caged bird sings of freedom. The free bird thinks of another breeze And the trade winds soft through The sighing trees And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright Lawn and he names the sky his own. But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream His wings are clipped and his feet are tied So he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with A fearful trill of things unknown But longed for still and his Tune is heard on the distant hill For the caged bird sings of freedom.
When it came out in , it was one of the first books to honestly depict the experiences of a black woman growing up in the south. Much of Caged Bird centers on trauma Angelou experienced as a child. She testified at his trial, but though he was convicted, he only served one day in jail. By age 40, Angelou had had many careers, working as a journalist, poet, civil rights activist, and singer. She was also a member of the Harlem Writers Guild, where she became friends with author James Baldwin. To get her stories out on paper, Angelou created an elaborate writing ritual.
The first and best-known of Maya Angelou 's extraordinary seven volumes of autobiography is a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover. The distance, which is everything, is as true as a plumb line. She is outside and inside at the same time, looking at all of it with double vision. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.