Maya Angelou 's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

913 WordsSep 5, 20164 Pages
Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography that describes the coming of age of a Southern black girl who overcomes society’s cruelty as she grows up. Taking place in Stamps, Kansas during the 1930s, the autobiography captures Marguerite Ann Johnson’s, or Maya’s, battle of finding herself and coming to terms with who she is while growing up in a time period comprised of oppression and discrimination. Furthermore, Maya endures many childhood hardships due to her race, and she defeats these obstacles with her intelligence and fortitude. Thus, Maya Angelou utilizes her vividly detailed experiences of racism’s impact on her and her resistance to racism to demonstrate the struggle of the Southern black girl who grows up in a society overwhelmed with white superiority. Initially, Maya is already consumed by the white standards of beauty when she is a child because of the white supremacy that surrounds her. Early in the novel, Maya is excited to wear a “special” Easter dress that would supposedly make her look like the perfect white girls. However, when Easter morning arrives, she realizes that the dress only makes her "skin look dirty like mud.” She wishes that she had long, blonde hair, paired with light, blue eyes, instead of her black features. She feels that she is actually white, and a wicked magician suddenly turned her into an “ugly Negro” (Angelou 1-3). Evidently, the notion of white beauty is integrated into Maya’s mind, making her loathe herself
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