I Kcurrently Why the Caged Bird Sings Reader’s Guide

By Maya Angelou

Category: Arts & Entertainment Biographies & Memoirs | Literary Figure Biographies & Memoirs

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Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Maya Angelou starts her autobiography via a moment of public humiliation in church. Why carry out you think she made a decision this scene in particular? Do themes in this scene reappear throughout the memoir?

2. To Marguerite, her mom appears alternately charming, elusive, unreputable and also strong. Which episodes in the novel illuminate her character? Do you think she was a great mother?

3. Mrs. Flowers “urged to listen very closely to what nation people referred to as mom wit. That in those homely sayings was couched the cumulative wisdom of generations” (100). What are some of the maxims that Angelou remembers hearing from Momma and also Mother? Did any kind of of these maxims strike a details chord with you? Are there examples of “mommy wit” that you remember from your very own childhood, or pass on to those approximately you?

4. Angelou describes Marguerite as “superstitious” (166). Can you find some examples of Marguerite’s superstition?

5. How does Angelou describe her moleterminal and also later her rape at the hands of Mr. Freeman? Were you surprised by her emotions? Was this terrible suffer the defining minute of the novel or of Angelou’s childhood? Why or why not?

6. “Every perchild I kbrand-new had actually a hellish horror of being ‘dubbed out of his name’” (109), and also as soon as Mrs. Cullinan renames her “Mary,” she exacts her revenge. Can you think of other examples of naming and also renaming in the book? What perform you think it suggests to be “called out of name”?

7. What did you think of the connection between Glory and also Mrs. Cullinan?

8. “I couldn’t pressure myself to think of them as human being,” (26) Angelou writes of the whites in segregated Stamps, Arkansas. Does this readjust over the course of the novel?

9. How is Marguerite’s identity as a Black woman otherwise shaped by her own and also others’ interactions through whites, including the “powhitetrash children” (28), middle course whites favor Mrs. Cullinan and also the sheriff, and also Northern whites such as the employees of the Market Street Railmethod Company? Do you think that Marguerite is even more powercompletely affected by her own interactions or by the interactions she observes?

10. As the granddaughter of a comparatively negative businesswomale, Marguerite’s understanding of the civilization is shaped as a lot by class endure as by race. Can you think of some examples of course distinctions or inversions in the novel?

11. What are some of the areas that welcome Marguerite throughout her childhood? Which areas nurture her successfully? Which are much less successful?

12. “He was my first white love,” (13) Angelou states of Shakespeare, yet most of her teachers are Black. How does Angelou explain her education and learning, both formal and informal? What lessons does she learn from those about her?

13. “We endure in precise relationship to the dedication of our poets,” (184) Angelou says of Babsence world. Do you think that this is true of all cultures?


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The title is a recommendation to a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Why perform you think that Angelou made a decision this title?