I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Argumentative Essay

This essay has a total of 1356 words and 7 pages.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

1) Summary of Character Traits
 a) School smart (Maya is smart. When she moves to San Francisco from Stamps, Arkansas, she is skipped a grade.)
 b) Caring sister (she always talks of her devotion to Baily)
 c) Determined (she wants to get a job with the streetcar company and she keeps bugging
them until they finally give her a job)

 d) Proud (she lives with the junkyard kids instead of going back to her father's; she
slaps Dolores for calling her mother a whore)

2) Appearance
 a) African American, tall, skinny, small and squinty eyes, big feet, large gap between her front teeth, black hair
3) What The Character Wants
 a) Maya wants, ultimately, for her family to be happy. She wants the segregation of
blacks to end (she is disgusted when young white girls call her grandmother by her first
name).

4) How the Character Changes
 a) After being raped, Maya stops talking as much
 b) After spending time living in the junkyard, Maya learns tolerance, which will help her
through out her life. She matures from a young girl to a mother, as well.

 c) Becomes more mature once she gets her job with the street cars
5) Key Statements About the Character
 a) "Ritie, don't worry ‘cause you ain't pretty. Plenty of pretty women I seen digging
ditches or worse. You smart. I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute
behind." (p.56)

 b) "In those moments I decided that although Baily loved me he couldn't help. … I knew
that because I loved him so much I could never hurt him" (p. 73)

6) Key Actions
 a) Father comes to Stamps and takes them to their mother
 b) Moves back to Stamps, then to SF
 c) Drives home from Mexico
 d) Slaps Dolores
 e) Stays with the junkyard people
 f) Gets pregnant
7) What Others Think Of the Character
 a) When they are younger, Baily really looks out for Maya. As they grow up, and after she
spends time with her father, they drift apart.

 b) Her grandmother loves Maya very much, and knows that she is a very smart girl with a lot of potential.
 c) Her mother seems to care much more about her than her father did.

Thesis Statement: Maya Angelou faces many hardships, yet manages to overcome them all, in
her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."


Maya Angelou faces many hardships, yet manages to overcome them all, in her autobiography,
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."


Maya is a strong willed, often stubborn, outgoing, somewhat outspoken, and rather
intelligent girl. She becomes very tolerant due to some of her experiences. She also
matures faster mentally than many other girls her age because of her situation and
experiences.


From the time she was young and through adolescence, Maya considered herself ugly. She was
a tall, somewhat lanky African American. She was skinny, and felt that her eyes were too
small and squinty. She was also ashamed of her large feet.


Throughout the story, Maya is discouraged by the segregation of the blacks. For a long
time she is denied the job that she wishes to have because of the color of her skin. Also,
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