I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Author:Maya Angelou When Maya Angelou published "I know why the caged bird sings," her memoir of girlhood in the South, she left an indelible mark on the literary world. Since that debut over two decades ago, Angelou has further developed her self-possessed and powerful voice, charting the course of her fascinating and triumphant life in memoirs and poetry that cul... more »minated in the beautiful and inspiring poem "On the Pulse of Morning," which she read at the inauguration of President Clinton.
In "I know why the caged bird sings", Angelou has created an unforgettable coming-of-age story. Marguerite -- or Rita, as she is known to her family (with the exception of her brother, Bailey, who nicknames her Maya) - is smart and Black, which means she is relegated to a lesser identity in Stamps, Arkansas. She is raised by her grandmother in a sparse but proud way until the Most Beautiful Mother in the World takes Maya and Bailey to St. Louis. Maya is raped, and she is so traumatized that she creates a perfect world of silence that she breaks only to speak to Bailey. As she grows, however, Maya learns that she must speak loudly to win the independence and regard she deserves.« less