Saturday, August 31, 2019

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Theme Reflection Essay

In the story, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, there are many themes. Two of them include racism and displacement. At a very young age, Maya met the effects of racism and segregation in America. She had been told about the differences between blacks and whites, which developed her belief that only blonde hair is beautiful and that she is a fat black girl stuck in a nightmare. However, Stamps, Arkansas, was so segregated that as a child Maya never really saw white people which made her believe that they didn’t exist. As Maya gets older, she is approached by more personal incidents of racism, such as a white dentist’s refusal to treat her. These unfair events humiliate Maya and her relatives. She learns that living in a very racist society has shaped her family members, and she tries to overcome them. Resistance to racism has many forms in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Big Bailey buys glitzy clothes and drives a fancy car to state his wealth and runs around with women to declare his masculinity in the face of degrading and reducing racism. Momma keeps her pride by seeing things realistically and keeping to herself. Daddy Clidell’s friends learn to use white peoples’ racism against them in worthwhile cons. Maya first experiments with resistance when she breaks her white employer’s heirloom china. Her bravest act of disobedience happens when she becomes the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Blacks also used the church as a place of revolutionary resistance. This story also includes the theme of displacement. Maya is moved around to seven different homes between the ages of three and sixteen. As said in the poem she tries to recite on Easter, the statement â€Å"I didn’t come to stay† becomes her shield against the reality of her rootlessness. Maya is always humiliated, making her unable to put down her shield and feel comfortable staying in one place. When she is thirteen she moved to San Francisco with her mother, Bailey, and Daddy Clidell. She finally feels that she belongs somewhere for the first time. As Maya continues her journey, she realizes that thousands of other terrified black children made the same journey as she and Bailey. Traveling on their own to newly wealthy parents in northern cities, or back to southern towns when the North failed to supply the economy it had promised. African Americans descended from slaves who were displaced from their homes and homelands in Africa, and blacks continued to struggle to find their place in a country friendly to their heritage.

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