Maya Angelou 's I Know The Caged Bird Sings

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In Maya Angelou’s I Know the Caged Bird Sings (1969), the reader is absorbed into a personal account of her life starting from her childhood to young adulthood during the 1930s and 1940s. From a young age, Maya witnessed the first-hand effects of racism in the South for blacks growing up alongside her brother, Bailey. In the novel, Angelou faces racial discrimination and displacement inside and outside her own community that act as metaphorical cages barring her from the freedom to be her true self.
In the beginning of the novel, Angelou describes the effect of racial discrimination had on her at a young age. Dissatisfied with her appearance for an upcoming church service, Maya imagines herself with blonde hair and blue eyes, which were
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Maya’s words mirrored the change of mood, “Donleavy had exposed us” (180) continuing to say, “We were maids and farmers, handymen and washer-women, and anything higher that we aspired to was farcical and presumptuous” (180).
However, African-Americans used any chance they could to prove their rightful place in white society through resistance. For example, in the black community of Stamps, the church revival was a form of resistance. This revival was called to strengthen the masses of blacks against the racism through scripture and prayer. Angelou states, “The white folks was going to get their comeuppance. Wasn’t that what the minister said, and wasn’t he quoting from the words of God Himself?” (127). Momma also helped in this effort by raising Maya and Bailey in a strictly religious household to protect them from the outside world. This revival gave the blacks in the Stamps community, the strength and energy to go on with life knowing that white people will meet their Maker on the day of judgement. Angelou writes in support, “although they might be the lowest of the low they were at least not uncharitable, and in that great Gettin’ Up Morning, Jesus was going to separate the sheep (them) from the goats (the white folks)” (128). Another way the black community resisted racism is by the legendary Joe Louis boxing match against a white opponent in the 1930s. Maya describes the atmosphere at the Store during the fight, “My
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