Caged Bird 2 Essay, Research Paper
I Know Why
The Caged Bird Sings
Maya also known as Marguerite discovers all the splendors and agonies of growing up in a prejudices and disfunciual time in America. From the slow pacesed life of stamps Arkansas to the fast-pace life in St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, California Maya s childhood is full of many obstacles and shows her how prejudice stretches from coast to coast.
When Maya was three years old, her successful mother sent her and Bailey from California to Stamps to stay with their grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson. Soon thought of as their real mother, Momma raised her grandchildren with the strict Southern principles such as, “wash your feet before you go to bed; always pray to the savior and you shall be forgiven; chores and school come before play; and help those in need and you shall be helped yourself.” Those principles formed Maya and Bailey to grew older and wiser in Stamps, each year watching the Negro cotton-pickers come and go while the white folks had no hardships even close to comparison. Even with a loving family she could still never come to coups with her physical features ( my family was handsome to a point of pain for me ).
One day their father came back to Stamps and called for Maya and Bailey to return home with him to St. Louis. Bailey agreed quickly while being bored with the simple life in Arkansas, but tender-hearted Maya was frightened by the idea of big cities and strange people Maya thinks of St Louis as “a foreign country”. “I carried the same shield that I had used in Stamps: I didn t come to stay .” Maya states. In St. Louis, where she was presented an entirely different lifestyle, Maya experienced many moments that caused her to miss for the quiet safety of Stamps. Her mother s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, sexually abused her twice, and when she testified in court against him, the important connections her mother had to the gangsters in St. Louis beat Mr. Freeman to death to help the family. In court, Maya lied, saying that he only touched her once, and the guilt of lying to her closest friend, her brother Bailey, cause Maya to mute herself. Maya and Bailey were shipped back to Momma in Stamps, a great relief for Maya, but very upsetting for her brother.
Maya concentrated on her schoolwork and her duties to Momma’s store, the only Black owned store in Stamps, until after her graduation from eighth grade, when she and Bailey were again sent away, this time to California. Both attending a non-segregated high school, until Bailey, sixteen-years-old decided to move into his own apartment. Maya then was sent over the summer to live with her father, who resided in a trailer park with his girlfriend, Dolores. After a physical fight with Dolores, Maya decided to run away from her father’s home and try to live on her own. She spent a month in an old car lot with some other boys she met, but at last decided to return to San Francisco with her mother. Now questioning her sexuality after reading a book about lesbians and enjoying watching a female friend take off her shirt, she asked a fellow classmate if he wanted to have sex with her to ensure herself that she did in fact enjoy men. After they made love, and still uncertain of her sexuality, she became pregnant three weeks later at the age of sixteen. Maya decided to wait until after her high school graduation to tell her mother, and three weeks after that she gave birth to a baby boy who she was afraid to even touch.
Maya s childhood is so disfuncianol and is full of so many obsticals that every were maya goes she is confronted with some sort of problem. From Stamps were she was confronted with racism to St. Louis were Maya was abused. Then to California were she struggled with her sexuality. Maya is only 16 and has gone through more hardships then a person 10 times her age would have to go through.