I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

Random House Publishing Group | April 21, 2009 | Mass Market Paperbound

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is rated 4.2857 out of 5 by 7.
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
 
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 mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and 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.
 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 304 pages, 6.87 × 4.16 × 0.81 in

Published: April 21, 2009

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345514408

ISBN - 13: 9780345514400

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from long time coming i always wanted to read this book and finally said this is it i am buying it and very glad i did
Date published: 2014-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Oprah’s hero is a hero to many, to be sure ** Spoiler Alert For those who haven’t read anything from Maya Angelou, then there’s a chance that you’ve at least seen her on Oprah sharing her eloquence and inspiration. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a memoir detailing her struggles bouncing back and forth between her lackadaisical parents in California, and her strict, god-fearing grandmother in the south. Angelou’s descriptive prowess conjures up images which clarify feelings immaculately. “…seeing him in the flesh shredded my inventions like a hard yank on a paper chain.” And it is this very skill of hers that has had some people arguing that some of the scenes in the novel are too graphic or disgusting to be provided to teenage readers in school. I personally do not find the telling of her story as inappropriate in any way. It hurts to read these things, and you’ll of course be disgusted, but this is life. There is nothing gratuitous about her words. Countless young victims will take solace in knowing that someone as respected as Maya Angelou was able to endure such atrocities and still make it through life as a successful and inspirational woman. I think any typical young woman over sixteen is emotionally capable of hearing these types of truths in a reverent way. There is one aspect of the story that has me a little concerned. The descriptions of Maya’s completely natural, yet harmful and damaging responses to the sexual abuse that she encountered – feeling guilty, shameful, pitying the abuser for his being punished, partaking in her silencing that was initiated by the adults in her life - leave me a little perplexed as to whether this book will help young people to realize that she is wrong in her feelings, and thus not feel that way about their own situations, or collude with Maya’s thoughts and feel the same way. “There was an army of adults, whose motives and movements I just couldn't understand and who made no effort to understand mine.” How damaging it must have been to Maya to be sent back to Stamps, as though she were being punished for the trauma yet again. All because these adults felt guilty about not protecting her, yet instead blamed her for making them feel uncomfortable because she would not speak to anyone but her brother. They were in fact the ones that encouraged the silencing of Maya when it was said that the incident should never be mentioned again. These types of responses to sexual traumas are the complete opposite of what is healthy for the victim, and I can only hope that any teens that are issued this book to read in school are properly informed of the truth. Children need to know - and Maya Angelou needed to know herself as a child - what happened to them is not their fault. I feel as though the end of the book needed to have a letter from Angelou to the reader outlining how she views the tragic events of her life now, as an adult. Angelou’s understanding of the bigotry realized in her lifetime is admirable, and in my opinion the following quotation that takes place after her being snubbed by a white receptionist regarding a job inquiry at the transportation office in San Francisco, is one of the most accurate explanations for the ridiculous hatred black people had, and often still do have, to endure. “The miserable little encounter had nothing to do with me, the ‘me’ of me, any more than it had to do with that silly clerk. The incident was a recurring dream, concocted years before by stupid whites and it eternally came back to haunt us all. The secretary and I were like Hamlet and Laertes in the final scene, where, because of harm done by one ancestor to another, we were bound to duel to the death. Also because the play must end somewhere. I went further than forgiving the clerk, I accepted her as a fellow victim of the same puppeteer.” If the haters of the world would acquiesce to this philosophy and move on with life instead of being so stubborn, then things would be a lot more peaceful and loving for us all. Abandonment, molestation, family, and racism are but a few of the emotionally charged topics that Maya Angelou shares with us in this intimate, courageous and truly uplifting story of survival. Some of Maya Angelou’s wise words: "The world had taken a deep breath and was having doubts about continuing to revolve." "I was a loose kite in a gentle wind floating with only my will for an anchor." "She [mother] comprehended the perversity of life, that in the struggle lies the joy." Check out more of my reviews at www.booksnakereviews.blogspot.com
Date published: 2010-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Maya Angelou is one of the most talented writers alive today. She finds a way to turn the most simple stories into a metaphoric and literary work of art. This book really inspired me just by its simplicity and honest and will forever be one of my favorites! Definately recommend it for teenage girls as it trully defines what it means to be a lady.
Date published: 2008-01-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from She is a National Treasure Maya Angelou (whose poetry and art I have long adored) has lived a most interesting and horrific life. Not a traditional biography, this is mostly a memoir and she writes with a unique grace and style. She is open minded and thoughtful, and I found the book compelling and easy to read, and made feel very grateful for the life I have. It also made feel very ignorant of southern black culture. This is an eye opening and jarring little book that I would highly recommend to everyone.
Date published: 2007-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book to fall in love with... I read this book for my OAC English class and unlike many of the other books, I didn't have to force myself to continue. I recommended this book to all of my friends. Oprah did not pick this book for no reason. It's absolutely incredible. You can connect with Maya Angelou on so many levels, and she does an amazing job of enticing her readers.
Date published: 2002-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Excellent Read!!! This book, by Maya Angelou, describes the hardships facing African American adolescents in the Southern States. It was a very moving novel that touched my heart as it described feelings of lonliness, isolation, and inadequecy. I highly recommend this novel for any teenager, to find out truly why "The Caged Bird Sings".
Date published: 2000-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Breath Taking Life Lesson!! Maya Angelou's breath taking account of her early years in 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' teaches us a life lesson matched by no other author of our day. She teaches us through her example of over coming all odds. Ms. Angelou helps us to understand that in the depths of dispair we can over come all fears and trials. 'I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings' is masterfully written in a very understandable poetic style which makes it a very easy and enjoyable read. I most highly recommend this book as well as those that follow.
Date published: 2000-07-23

– More About This Product –

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 304 pages, 6.87 × 4.16 × 0.81 in

Published: April 21, 2009

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345514408

ISBN - 13: 9780345514400

About the Book

Superbly told, with the poet's gift for language and observation, Angelou's autobiography of her childhood in Arkansas - a world of which most Americans are ignorant.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Read from the Book

Prologue "What you looking at me for? I didn''t come to stay . . ." I hadn''t so much forgot as I couldn''t bring myself to remember. Other things were more important. "What you looking at me for? I didn''t come to stay . . ." Whether I could remember the rest of the poem or not was immaterial. The truth of the statement was like a wadded-up handkerchief, sopping wet in my fists, and the sooner they accepted it the quicker I could let my hands open and the air would cool my palms. "What you looking at me for . . . ?" The children''s section of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was wiggling and giggling over my well-known forgetfulness. The dress I wore was lavender taffeta, and each time I breathed it rustled, and now that I was sucking in air to breathe out shame it sounded like crepe paper on the back of hearses. As I''d watched Momma put ruffles on the hem and cute little tucks around the waist, I knew that once I put it on I''d look like a movie star. (It was silk and that made up for the awful color.) I was going to look like one of the sweet little white girls who were everybody''s dream of what was right with the world. Hanging softly over the black Singer sewing machine, it looked like magic, and when people saw me wearing it they were going to run up to me and say, "Marguerite [sometimes it was ''dear Marguerite''], forgive us, please, we didn''t know who you were," and I would answer generously, "No, you couldn''t ha
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From the Publisher

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
 
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 mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and 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.
 
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Jacket

"This testimony from a black sister marks the beginning of a new era in the minds and hearts of all black men and women... I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity. I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood, when the people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I found myself so moved... Her portrait is a biblical study in life in the midst of death."—James Baldwin

"Simultaneously touching and comic"—New York Times

"It is a heroic and beautiful book."—Clevland Plain Dealer

"Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written and exceptional autobiographical narrative... a beautiful book—an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time."—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Heart of a Woman, she wrote numerous volumes of poetry, among them Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning, and Mother. Maya Angelou died in 2014.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin


From the Hardcover edition.
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