I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou It’s ironic that what most stands out in the first volume of Maya Angelou’s autobiography is her voice; when she was a girl, she stopped speaking for a time, but, in looking back on the experiences of her younger years, her voice is unforgettable.

“If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.”

This quotation is from the third page: immediately the reader is drawn into the storyteller’s web with its memorable confluence of beauty and pain.

Her prose is, unmistakeably, poetic.

“The gay picnic dresses dashed, stopped and darted like beautiful dragonflies over a dark pool.”

“At home, I was given a warm salt solution, and when I washed out my mouth I showed Bailey the empty holes, where the clotted blood sat like filling in a pie crust.”

And beyond a poetic style, her language use, even in relatively simple sentences, is creative and evocative.

This quality never diminishes the reader’s ability to readily comprehend the events of the storyteller’s life; in fact, not only are the events clear and distinct, but the way that they unfold is, at times, startlingly gripping.

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