Book review of Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Emery Adult Learning Centre students



by Aneka BrownEnglish Student Emery Adult Learning Centre People should not make events of their life determine who they are as an individual.Maya Angelou, a well-established African-American woman, has a very strong personality which makes her stand out as a person.Maya comes across as a very pleasant, sincere, funny, and intelligent individual. Through reading her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and watching TV interviews about her life from the age of three to sixteen, I learned that she was soindependent that she would rather live alone with her son, in her teens, than depend on her mother to help support her.She inspires me as a young, black woman and she has helped me to realize that anyone can be who they want to be in life despite the mountains they would have to climb to get there.Maya also spoke about the people who helped influence her life and helped her to get over the obstacles that she had to overcome.  She experienced rape as a young child and racism all through her life.This strong woman will continue to be a positive influence in my life, and I would recommend her books, stories, and poetry to anyone who would listen because she is a real motivator.

Book Review of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings:

By Juliette WilliamEnglish Student Emery Adult Learning Centre I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a novel written by Maya Angelou.  It is a story of the struggles that two black children go through.  The main character is Marguerite Johnson.  She and her brother, Bailey, are sent to Stamps, Arkansas by their parents to live with their grandmother. The reason they are being sent there is because their parents are separating and moving to different parts of the country. When Maya was seven their father came to get them from Stamps and took them to St. Louis to be with their mother.  Maya's mother, Vivian Baxter, had a boyfriend, Mr. Freeman.  He lived with them and molested Maya twice before raping her.  After a trial in which Mr. Freeman was found guilty, but spends less than one day in jail, he is found dead in an abandoned parking lot.  After this event, Maya went from being a little girl to a young woman, who became sullen and withdrawn. After the trial, they went back to Stamps where they stayed for five years.  At thirteen, their grandmother said that it was time for them to go back to their mother. Maya spent the next two years living with Vivian in San Francisco -  the first city she felt she truly belonged in.  Maya, to occupy her spare time, decided to fight racism by applying for a job at the Market Street Railway Company.  She was determined to get this job even after being told that the company did not hire Negros.  But Maya did not give up.  She pursued and succeeded in obtaining the job. During this time she was struggling with her sexuality which made her very confused and frightened. She looked to her mother for help with this problem.  Her mother tells her that the changes within her were natural for a growing young lady.  This causes her to think that in order to show others that she was normal, she needed to get a boyfriend.  She seduces a boy and in turn, gets pregnant. She does not know anything about raising a baby, but with a good start from her mother, she was successful. The main thought that one can learn from this novel is that success goes to those who strive for it.  Although Maya faced various obstacles in young life, she became a successful author, school teacher and single mother. One important lesson that we all can learn from the novel is that racism can be beaten if you set your mind to it. You can be a success no matter what nationality you are. The most important thing is not to give up just because someone tells you that you cannot flourish due to your race.