What happens to Mr. Freeman after he rapes Maya?

After raping Maya, Mr. Freeman threatens that he will kill Bailey if she tells anyone about his crime, and he sends her to the library. She can barely walk and must retreat back to bed in a feverish haze. Later, Mr. Freeman leaves, and Bailey and Vivian discover the true root cause of Maya’s illness when the bloody underwear she hid underneath her mattress is dislodged. They take her to the hospital and Bailey coaxes Maya to reveal the name of her rapist, leading to Mr. Freeman’s arrest. In court Mr. Freeman is sentenced to one year and a day, but just a few hours later, his dead body is found in the lot behind the slaughterhouse. The policeman who visits to deliver the news says it appears his body was kicked to death and dragged there. It is not clear who killed Mr. Freeman, but Maya is convinced her words somehow caused his death.

Why does Bailey leave his mother’s house?

When he’s sixteen, Bailey and Vivian reach a crossroads in their relationship and Bailey leaves due to the power-love struggles between them. Bailey wants his mother’s approval but is insecure, comparing himself to the successful older men that surround Vivian. He gets engaged to a white prostitute in a crooked effort to earn respect from his mother, and she furiously orders him to leave. The next morning, Maya finds Bailey at the brothel and discovers Vivian went to see him before her. Bailey says they have come to an understanding about his need to be independent and that he is going to work on the railroad. From their tear-stained faces, Maya can see that both Vivian and Bailey love each other but the strain caused by Bailey’s warped efforts to mature has caused deep tension and pain. Bailey’s pride and determination to fit his definition of masculinity fuels his exit from the family unit, and he assures Maya his future will be promising.

Why does Maya run away from her father?

Rooted in abandonment from the start, Maya’s relationship with her father is never truly positive or safe and her decision to leave his care springs from a steady detachment and lack of respect for him. Big Bailey arrives in Stamps one year after having been absent from Bailey and Maya’s life, impressing the townsfolk and eventually whisking the children away to St. Louis. Maya regards her father as a stranger and is thoroughly underwhelmed by his vanity and ignorance. When Maya is fifteen, she lives with him and his insufferable and jealous girlfriend, Dolores, in California. It is here she makes the decision to run away after a dangerous trip to Mexico and an encounter with Dolores that leaves Maya injured. Maya would rather be homeless than live under the illusion of Big Bailey’s fatherhood, and she sets out in a firm whirlwind of independence, eventually finding home in a junkyard with some other teenage children. This key moment crystallizes her autonomy and leads to formative revelations about her life and future, ultimately shaping the trajectory of Maya’s young adulthood.

How does Maya get the job as the streetcar conductorette?

Maya’s unabashed determination and shrewd navigation of the corrupt interview process eventually earn her the position of the first Black worker on the San Francisco streetcars, despite crippling discrimination and systemic racism. When Maya visits the office of the railway company in response to an ad in the newspaper, the white secretary tries to dissuade her with an unconvincing run-around related to the personnel manager’s absence. For three weeks Maya persists—encouragement and wisdom from Vivian fueling her resolve—and eventually one of her visits to the office yields triplicate paperwork, on which Maya weaves a background of partial truths that deems her worthy of hire. She endures assessments of every kind, including blood and physical coordination tests, and then one day is officially offered the position after all the company’s attempts to bar her entry have been exhausted.

What does the title I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings mean?

A reference to a refrain in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy,” Angelou’s title is a metaphoric nod to the dynamics of freedom and oppression in American society. In her story, Maya is the bird trapped in the cage of racism, sexism, loneliness, and violence. The song represents the triumph and resistance of Black Americans in coming against the oppression evident in every area of life, and Maya’s own victory over the myriad of challenges she faces. The motif of singing is used throughout the book to represent subversive defiance of injustice, such as when Grandmother Baxter sings softly while being harassed by the mob of white children, or when Henry Reed leads the eighth grade graduating class in the Black National Anthem after the commencement speaker’s horrifying speech.