I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsBook - 1970
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 Library Staff
PrincetonPLteen May 31, 2013
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
[When I was 8 years old] my mother would take me in to sleep with her, in the large bed with Mr. Freeman. ...[he] pulled me to him and put his hand between my legs. ...He threw back the covers and his "thing" stood up like a brown ear of corn. He took my hand and said, "Feel it." … he dragged me on top of his chest with his left arm, and his right hand was moving so fast.... Finally he was quiet, and then came the nice part. This was probably my real father ….
The Well of Loneliness was my introduction to lesbianism and was I thought of as pornography. For months the book was both a treat and a threat. It allowed me to see a little of the mysterious world of the pervert. It stimulated my libido.
His pants were open and his ‘thing’ was standing out of his britches by itself. ..He grabbed my arm and pulled me between his legs. He said, “Now, this ain’t gonna hurt you much. You liked it before, didn’t you?” …His legs were squeezing my waist. “Pull down your drawers.” ..”If you scream, I’m gonna kill you. And if you tell, I’m gonna kill Bailey.”…Then there was the pain. A breaking and entering when even the senses are torn apart. The act of rape on an eight-year-old body is a matter of the needle giving because the camel can’t. ..I thought I had died.
it was his ‘thing’ on my leg. Mr. Freeman pulled me to him, and put his hand between my legs…He threw back the blankets and his ‘thing’ stood up like a brown ear of corn. He took my hand and said, “Feel it.” It was mushy and squirmy like the inside of a freshly killed chicken. Then he dragged me on top of his chest.
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