Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Customer Reviews 6 Extract Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Industry Reviews "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.
Prologue "What you looking at me for? I didn't come to stay. Other things were more important. The truth of the statement was like a wadded-up handkerchief, sopping wet in my fists, and the sooner they accepted it the quicker I could let my hands open and the air would cool my palms. The dress I wore was lavender taffeta, and each time I breathed it rustled, and now that I was sucking in air to breathe out shame it sounded like crepe paper on the back of hearses.
As I'd watched Momma put ruffles on the hem and cute little tucks around the waist, I knew that once I put it on I'd look like a movie star. It was silk and that made up for the awful color. I was going to look like one of the sweet little white girls who were everybody's dream of what was right with the world. Hanging softly over the black Singer sewing machine, it looked like magic, and when people saw me wearing it they were going to run up to me and say, "Marguerite [sometimes it was 'dear Marguerite'], forgive us, please, we didn't know who you were," and I would answer generously, "No, you couldn't have known.
Of course I forgive you.
I'm Pretty Sure I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
But Easter's early morning sun had shown the dress to be a plain ugly cut-down from a white woman's once-was-purple throwaway. It was old-lady-long too, but it didn't hide my skinny legs, which had been greased with Blue Seal Vaseline and powdered with the Arkansas red clay. The age-faded color made my skin look dirty like mud, and everyone in church was looking at my skinny legs. Wouldn't they be surprised when one day I woke out of my black ugly dream, and my real hair, which was long and blond, would take the place of the kinky mass that Momma wouldn't let me straighten?
My light-blue eyes were going to hypnotize them, after all the things they said about "my daddy must of been a Chinaman" I thought they meant made out of china, like a cup because my eyes were so small and squinty. Then they would understand why I had never picked up a Southern accent, or spoke the common slang, and why I had to be forced to eat pigs' tails and snouts.
Because I was really white and because a cruel fairy stepmother, who was understandably jealous of my beauty, had turned me into a too-big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil. She whispered, "I just come to tell you, it's Easter Day. The giggles hung in the air like melting clouds that were waiting to rain on me. I held up two fingers, close to my chest, which meant that I had to go to the toilet, and tiptoed toward the rear of the church.
Dimly, somewhere over my head, I heard ladies saying, "Lord bless the child," and "Praise God. Halfway down the aisle, the church exploded with "Were you there when they crucified my Lord? I stumbled and started to say something, or maybe to scream, but a green persimmon, or it could have been a lemon, caught me between the legs and squeezed. I tasted the sour on my tongue and felt it in the back of my mouth. Then before I reached the door, the sting was burning down my legs and into my Sunday socks.
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I tried to hold, to squeeze it back, to keep it from speeding, but when I reached the church porch I knew I'd have to let it go, or it would probably run right back up to my head and my poor head would burst like a dropped watermelon, and all the brains and spit and tongue and eyes would roll all over the place. So I ran down into the yard and let it go. I ran, peeing and crying, not toward the toilet out back but to our house. I'd get a whipping for it, to be sure, and the nasty children would have something new to tease me about.
I laughed anyway, partially for the sweet release; still, the greater joy came not only from being liberated from the silly church but from the knowledge that I wouldn't die from a busted head. If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.
Annie Henderson. Our parents had decided to put an end to their calamitous marriage, and Father shipped us home to his mother.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
A porter had been charged with our welfare—he got off the train the next day in Arizona—and our tickets were pinned to my brother's inside coat pocket. I don't remember much of the trip, but after we reached the segregated southern part of the journey, things must have looked up. Negro passengers, who always traveled with loaded lunch boxes, felt sorry for "the poor little motherless darlings" and plied us with cold fried chicken and potato salad. 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. Maya Angelou has used various literary devices to enhance the intended impacts of her poem. Although the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has no definitive rhyme scheme, it creates the illusion of rhyme with the clever use of consonance.
The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky. It hovers over a stream of wind and floats downwards to where the current of the stream ends and the wind is calm.
The bird is shown in a state of great tranquility. It has the freedom to move about wherever it desires. The whole firmament is his one big home.
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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. Here, poet Maya Angelou contrasts the situation by presenting the image of a caged bird. The cage is narrow and its metaphorical bars are of rage. The caged bird is seen to be angry with its situation. It desires with all its heart to escape its plight.
But the caged bird cannot see beyond his cage. Its wings are clipped, that is, its freedom is taken away. Wings are associated with flight, which in turn is associated with freedom.
It cannot fly even if it desires to. Its feet are tied. A bird tied to the ground represents an image completely opposite to its true nature of flight.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – review
This represents the fact of alienation of the bird. The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.
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The caged bird has a wavering voice. He is singing of freedom, something he does not have. The idea of freedom is his dream, one he cannot achieve.