I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
All the places Maya lived and the different people she was surrounded by really
affected her. There were many positive and negative influences on her throughout her
life. She had to move so much and was treated so differently everywhere she lived. She
was very confused about herself for a very long time.
All the shuffling around started when she was only three years old. She was sent to
Arkansas to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother was a very motherly figure. She
influenced Maya in many good ways. Yet, momma seemed to be a very ignorant lady.
Especially towards white people. Maya didn't let her know she was reading Shakespeare
merely because he was white. Momma also always refers to whites as "they". Momma
had a huge influence on Maya's thinking. At one point in the book she even says she
doesn't even consider whites human.
Then again, when the Powhitetrash girls are
harassing momma, she never sinks to their level. She just continues working and
Then when Maya and Bailey are transported to St. Louis they have a complete
change in the life they had known before. They are now in a loud, chaotic environment.
Maya has to deal with Big Daddy and his flashy white man habits. This totally disrupts
the quiet family lifestyle she had with momma. For awhile Maya starts to really find
herself among all the different people she is forced to live around. Just as she seems to be
fitting in a little, Mr. Freeman rapes her. She is left extremely guilt ridden and taken
advantage of. Mr. Freeman very negatively affected Maya. Although Maya isolates
herself to the library, the books really helped her. She learned to let the books keep her