Free Study Guide for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: Book Summary|
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In California, Maya must compete with Dolores for her father’s attention. When Maya seems to be winning, Dolores turns on her. After insulting Maya, she stabs her with the scissors. The act brings back to Maya thoughts of her frightening past. As a result, she decides to run away. For over a month she survives in a junkyard commune of runaways, where she finds her independence and a sense of self-worth. When she returns to live with Vivian, Maya proves that she can overcome the struggles of life. She gets a job as the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco and graduates from high school even though she is eight months pregnant at the time. Her independence and womanhood converge when she gives birth to a son. For the first time in her life, she feels truly needed, connected, and strong. Maya has overcome her many struggle and come of age.
One of the minor themes of the novel is Maya’s search for love. Even as a child Maya’s need for love is thwarted by selfish parents and an undemonstrative grandmother. Though Bailey loves Maya, that is not enough to fill her need. It is this boundless need for affection that makes young Maya easy prey for Mr. Freeman.
Other minor themes that are developed in the novel are racism and sexism. Born at a crucial time in American history, young Maya must struggle for acceptance both as a black person and as a woman. Fortunately for her, she has the determination to see both struggles through to the end.
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. 09 May 2017