Race Relations in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Race Relations in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The reasons listed by the censors for banning I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings do not explain the widespread controversy around the novel. There is reason to believe that the question of the novel is in its poignant portrayal of race relations. This explains why the novel has been most controversial in the South, where racial tension is historically worst, and where the novel is partially set. Therefore, understanding the blatant and subtle effects of racism on the young Marguerite help explain the censorship controversy, and the person she became.

One of the earliest examples of race relations in the book symbolizes the strict dichotomy of opportunity for black and
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The disparaging remarks pertaining to white versus black ability filled Marguerite with despair. When the young boy giving the commencement address turned and sang the black anthem, it changed that despair to hope. It showed her the ability of her race, and in turn her species, to survive and overcome incredible odds.

It is examples such as these that impact Marguerite and shape the woman she was the become. One can see the seeds of this woman in many of the examples of race relations in the novel. For example, when Marguerite works as a maid in a white house, her employers change her name for their convenience. After being called Mary, she determines that she must leave this employment. Her inability to adapt to this situation which was considered normal, shows the rigidity of character which was more fully developed later in her life.

Another example of the seeds of who she became occurred when the revival came to Stamps. Here, Marguerite makes the observation that it had occurred to her that her race is masochistic. She thought that not only were they condemned to live the worst lives, but they liked it like that. In this example, Marguerite shows the frustration she had with her circumstances, and with life for Southern Blacks.

When considering the amount of persuasive power Maya Angelou has it is not surprising that the book has had a great many detractors. The depiction of hatred between the races can not be

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