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I know why the caged bird sings - Maya Angelou Commentary

Uploaded by frollypoo on Mar 02, 2002

Life in Stamps, Alabama is very difficult and callous for the Negro people. The Negroes must work long hours at ridiculously low pay just to survive, and often it just was not enough. Angelou explains in the early chapters of I know why the caged bird Sings, just how hard life in Stamps is and how her people are able cope.

Angelou conveys this so that the reader will have a greater understanding of what the times she lived in were like; she is also trying to teach us about the circumstances in which her people worked and the spirit that they demonstrated. By describing this, Angelou further enhances the flow of her plot, helping the reader to realize just how oppressed and hopeless life was for the Negro people. Also, Angelou’s recollection of the ‘common workday’ contributes to the tone of soft subtleness set in the early chapters, of the small community of Stamps.

There are many different devices that Angelou uses to communicate her message. Angelou uses figurative language to bring the reader to further understand the point she is trying to make. Angelou has strong use of onomatopoeia, at the beginning of the annotated passage, she wrote “The lamplight in the store gave a soft make believe feeling to our world which made me want to whisper...” By saying that she wanted to ‘whisper’ she further expresses that the delicate light given off by the lamplight is subtle and with the use of the word whisper and because of the way that is pronounced, the word ‘whisper’ was used very effectively in this sentence. Another example is in the paragraph that states “The sound of the new morning had been replaced with grumbles…” the use of the word ‘grumbles’ is very effective because it gives the reader a sense of the discontentment that the cotton pickers experienced at the end of the day. Also, the most powerful use of onomatopoeia is at the end when Angelou wrote, “I winced to picture them sewing the coarse material…” The fact that she winced definitely makes the reader realize the determination and pain the Negroes went through just to make something of themselves.

Angelou uses powerful diction, her choice of words is strong and the way they are used proves very effective in grabbing the reader’s interest. Angelou stated “In those tender mornings the Store…” The use of the word tender is...

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Uploaded by:   frollypoo

Date:   03/02/2002

Category:   I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Length:   3 pages (734 words)

Views:   5806

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