Free Study Guide for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: Book Summary|
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For months, Mr. Freeman ignores Maya, which makes her feel lonely. Then she forgets about what has happened, and the memory of his holding her melts into the "general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood." She gets a library card and slips into a world of fiction away from Bailey, her grandparents, and her uncles.
Vivian (Bibbie) has no idea how to be a good mother. She is incapable of nurturing Maya or meeting her needs. She pays the children little attention and never shows them any physical affection. Bibbie also allows Mr. Freeman to provide for the children, and she entertains herself playing poker, making some extra money on the side.
Suffering from a sense that she does not belong anywhere, Maya never thinks of St. Louis as home. She convinces herself that "I didnít come to stay," proof of her constant feeling that her life is temporary. To escape from her real world, Maya takes refuge in reading fiction and flashy magazines; but being young and impressionable, both she and Bailey are affected by the inappropriate things that they read. He begins to stutter, and she has nightmares. Her mother, in order to comfort her, takes her daughter into the sanctity of her bed; however, her weak attempt at motherhood places the young girl in danger. When Vivian is not around, Mr. Freeman takes advantage of Maya, relieving his sexual desires against her. Maya misinterprets Mr. Freemanís sexual attraction toward her as fatherly love. She is confused about what has happened, but she longs for outward signs of being loved.
Mr. Freemanís threats alienate Maya from Bailey, the one person to whom she feels connected. For the first time in her life, she keeps a secret from her brother. Feeling more isolated than ever, Maya longs for attention from Mr. Freeman. She innocently sits on his lap, like a daughter will do with her father. He is immediately aroused and has to go to the bathroom to relieve himself. After this second incident, Mr. Freeman begins to avoid Maya. To fight her loneliness, she loses herself in books that she checks out on her new library card. Since she always identifies with the good, strong heroes who win in the end, she longs to be a boy herself.
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. 09 May 2017