Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)

This is one of those books I had thought I should read for a long time. It's also a book that it's great that we read it for book club because I got so much more out of discussing it than just reading it on my own. Some books do not foster a lot of discussion. This book is the exact opposite! There were so many themes to discuss. At our book club meeting, we didn't really get past segregation and prejudice. Those are big ones! 

Other potential great discussions:

Home: Maya and her brother live in many different homes. They are mainly raised by their grandma but have times where they try living with their mother and with their father, who are not together. Many pivotal moments occur because of their lack of a "home".

Rising from the ashes: Maya isn't penned in by the beliefs of society and the people around her. She is matter of fact about her optimism to do anything anyone else can do.

Matriarchal Society: Men in this story are not positive role models in Maya's life (except for her brother, Brother and her Uncle). Women forge on and succeed despite their place in society.

Literature: Books save Maya. Her first love is William Shakespeare. She is well read and highly influenced by literature.

Beauty: Maya thinks she is ugly. She wishes to be whiter in order to be more beautiful. 

I think we could have had a couple of book club meetings on this book!

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

Goodreads summary about Maya's life:

Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. Maya Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969 which was nominated for a National Book Award and called her magnum opus. 

No comments:

Post a Comment