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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings review Ö 103 Sent 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. I really enjoyed this book It was reuired reading for a University course I took on Adolescent LiteratureThis book has been placed on banned book lists by needlessly close minded people for it s real life contentThe book tastefully addresses issues of molestation rape racism But it does so within the context of the trials and tribulations of growing up as well The book presents things in a direct and extremely vivid fashion but it is not garishly or needlessly graphic These are issues that need to be addressed and talked about with adolescents In fact earlier generations could have likely benefited from a little open discussion about such mattersIn any regard the book is not about these issues it simply addresses them within the context which is Maya Angelou s early life from somewhere around age 6 up to about 17 or 18 I believe Worth reading worth having your kids read Just be sure to discuss it s content with themlike a parent should anyway

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings review Ö 103 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. May 2014 I wrote this review a year and a half ago It is written from the perspective of a parent who cares about what her teenage children read in school I hope it may be useful to other parents teens and anyone else who cares about content and wants to make informed decisions about what they read I received mostly negative reactions to my review but also a few positive comments which encouraged me After a year of dealing with it all I wanted to be done and move on so I closed the comment section If you wish to read through the comments you ll see a few posts I wrote in reply My final comments are in the last two posts This is my personal reaction to the book and I support your right to make your own choices about what you read tooI read this book because my teenage son was going to be reuired to read it in his English class at school I did not want to read the book because I was aware of its content But I felt it necessary in order to be able to talk to the teacher about my objections So I did not like this book My degree in Comparative Literature enables me to recognize some literary value in Caged Bird as well as historical and social value I believe Maya Angelou is a talented writer I admire some of her poetry But her series of autobiographical books includes too much explicit and disturbing sexual content for me And I certainly did not want my 15 year old son to have to read it He did not want to read it and my husband and I completely supported his choiceThe most graphic and disturbing sexual material in Caged Bird involves the rape of the author as an eight year old girl This horrible experience deeply affects her life But I believe our teenage children can understand that terrible things like this happen without needing to be dragged through the muck of the sordid details Ms Angelou writes vividly My son does not want those images in his head and I fully support him I can see this book being taught at the college level but I strongly feel that it is not appropriate for high school reuired reading In my son s advanced English class this book was one of six main texts In the regular English class there are only two main texts and this is one of them How sad when there are so many other great literary works to choose from which are clean My son s teacher was nice and professional about it Another English teacher was not so nice She acted surprised that I would characterize the book as R rated She said that we could see worse things on prime time TV Our my husband s and my response was That s why we choose not to watch those TV shows It bothered me that she would try to use the everybody s doing it excuse Just because our society s standards of decency continue to plummet is no reason to embrace them It is an American Lit class so I suggested a couple of other texts as options if the purpose was to address the African American experience But this book is obviously one of that teacher s favorites so she defended it The teachers did say that our son could choose to read a different book However because the class structure was centered on discussion we and our son chose to have him read an edited version of Caged Bird instead I just told him which chapters to skip And I m glad that our son happened to have the sympathetic teacher So I m done with my rant now Just needed to get that out I m glad that I love to read so I can be alert to what my children are exposed to at school I know other parents who would also object to this book if they were aware of the content And I understand that it s hard to keep up with our kids sometimes I expect we ll run into this problem again at the high school But on the bright side I also get to enjoy discussing good books with my children

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings review Ö 103 Mother’s side in St Louis Maya is attacked by a man many times her age and has to live with the conseuences for a lifetime Years later in San Francisco Maya learns that love for herself the kindness of others her own strong spirit and. Caged BirdA free bird leapson the back of the windand floats downstreamtill the current endsand dips his wingin the orange sun raysand dares to claim the skyBut a bird that stalksdown his narrow cagecan seldom see throughhis bars of ragehis wings are clipped andhis feet are tiedso he opens his throat to singThe caged bird singswith a fearful trillof things unknownbut longed for stilland his tune is heardon the distant hillfor the caged birdsings of freedom The above poem by Maya Angelou not from this book BTW encapsulates in a few lines why the voices of protest are the loudest and the literature the most powerful when it is forcefully suppressed Because the only thing the caged bird can do is sing he will keep on doing it lest he go mad Poetry will keep on flowing out of the decapitated head of OrpheusI understand that this book has been banned multiple times Not surprising considering that the words of the poet have power than swords or bullets as proved time and again by history Maya Angelou born Marguerite Johnson and her brother Bailey were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps Arkansas when their parents marriage fell apart It was the early thirties and the North and the South of USA were poles apart as far as coloured people were concerned in the North they were part of the society albeit an insular one while in the South they were the despised niggers Maya spent most of the formative part of her childhood down south Her grandmother Momma was a singularly resourceful woman who owned a store they managed to live in relative comfort even during the Depression era However this material comfort was offset by the fact that they were always the hated other the whitefolk who lived apart almost a mythical race in Maya s young mind were powerful and whimsical gods who could visit death and destruction any time on any black man or woman Even the powhitetrash the drifters and suatters who had the fortune to be born into the Anglo Saxon race could insult even the propertied black people with impunityWhen she was eight years old Maya s father took her brother and herself to their mother Vivian Baxter in St Louis Here the incident which was to become the turning point of her life happened The eight year old girl was raped by her mother s current boyfriend Mr Freeman he managed to wiggle out of jail only to be murdered presumably by Maya s maternal uncles who were also the town toughs As a result of this she became a virtual mute for almost five yearsSent back to Stamps Maya continued her zombie like existence until she was brought back into the world of the living by Bertha Flowers a teacher and family friend she did this by the expedient of introducing the girl to books Maya found refuge in the world of imagination and slowly came back to normalShe again went to live with her mother in California when she was 15 During this sojourn she visited her father in Southern California where another traumatic even in her life took place After a frightening journey across the border into Mexico along with her father when she was forced to drive a car back to the US in the night with him passed out in the back even though she was not a ualified driver Maya was attacked and stabbed by her father s girlfriend She uit home and lived for a month in a junkyard with similar social drop outs before returning to her motherA month of living in the rough had emboldened the shy and withdrawn girl Maya decided to get a job as a streetcar conductor even though the occupation was closed to blacks and succeeded the activist and rebel were just emerging The first instalment of this extended autobiography ends with the picture of Maya as a teen mother of a child conceived out of a casual sexual encounter which she had just to satisfy that she was normal that is heterosexual Maya writes with a disarming honesty and a genuine sense of humour Even the most distressing events are discussed casually the child s eye view is done really well The book is eminently readable Still is this a great book I would not say so Good yes genuinely great noThe causal tone for me took away most of the poignancy Even the extremely distressing rape incident though described in gory detail fails to really make an impact My personal feeling is that this is the author s way of coping with personal trauma you take the emotion out of it However it might come across to people that her mother never cared much I have found this view expressed on one or two of the one star reviews for this book on this siteHowever I salute Maya s courage in writing this explicit memoir Being a black woman she feels disadvantaged thrice as she says The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice white illogical hate and Black lack of power So maybe the best defence is to attack Throw the hypocrisy of society back in its face Say This is I Accept me for what I am whether you like what you see or not

  • Paperback
  • 289
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Maya Angelou
  • English
  • 01 May 2019
  • 9780553279375