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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou


Study Questions & Essay Topics

Suggestions for Further Reading

1. What is Maya Angelou’s birth name?

2. Why did Maya and Bailey’s parents send them to Stamps, Arkansas?

3. How did Maya and Bailey get to Stamps?

4. Why does Uncle Willie hide in the potato bin?

5. Who is the “most important person” in Maya’s life?

6. Which author is Maya’s first love?

7. What does Momma do while the poor white children mock her in the yard?

8. What does Maya do to defy Mrs. Cullinan?

9. Who is Maya’s first friend?

10. What does Maya do for the first time in Mexico?

11. Why does Bailey stay late at the movies?

12. Who rapes Maya?

13. Where does Maya live after running away from her father’s friend’s house?

14. Which famous figure sustains black pride for those who congregate at the Store?

15. How does Vivian make a living?

16. Why does Maya stop talking?

17. What does Grandfather Baxter teach his sons to be?

18. In which city does Maya feel she belongs?

19. Why does Maya sleep with the neighborhood boy?

20. What does Maya hide from Vivian and Daddy Clidell?

21. Whom does Maya consider a real father figure?

22. What does Maya do before she slaps Dolores?

23. Who makes Maya feel like an equal human being?

24. Blacks replace what ethnic minority in San Francisco during World War II?

25. What breakthrough does Maya achieve in San Francisco?

More Help

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Great autobiography

by maria106, November 14, 2012

Through a series of personal events, feelings, and thoughts, Maya Angelou is able to captivate its readers with her recounting of her life from her early years up to late adolescence. As readers, we are able to see how Maya grows from the insecure little girl in Arkansas to the strong woman who realizes that she can trust herself and will be able to keep moving forward, which is clearly shown when she realizes that she can take care of her son.

During the last chapter of the book, I feel that Maya does a great job describing the feeli... Read more


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