By the Calvin and Abdou Collab.

What is Angelou arguing in either the prologue OR “Caged Bird”? How does she use sensory details/language to support her argument?

In the excerpt from ‘I know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, she begins by talking about her the book’s beginning in a prologue. Angelou argues that being a Southern Black girl at that time was like being the lowest of the low; something that isn’t meant to belong. There was many confusions of such that she didn’t understand her own racial values; “fairy stepmother, who was understandably jealous of my beauty, had turned me into too-big Negro girl…” This suggests that Angelou was trying to transform into something that’s the definition of beauty which was being a white girl at the time. She didn’t feel connected to her own race and proud of her race; she sorta rejected it. She didn’t feel like she belonged as a “Negro girl” because being white was the major insight of being powerful and beautiful in society. Her step mother provided the guidance to have her accept her as she is right now because she won’t be able to change her self-image by wearing fancy white clothing to become white herself. Being black was like being imprisoned in a caged to her. She feels as if being black was like a “black ugly dream…” Angelou believes that she deserves better than what others treat black people in her generation; it is completely unfair. The white example is expected to be the only way people of different racial mixes will get respect for themselves, due to the difference in power generated from our society. To Angelou, being black is “ugly” and self-contradicting when there is an unequal amount of distribution of power that cannot be escaped no matter how hard you try, but in Angelou’s case, she tries her best to be as white as possible to contradict her black identity.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Maya Angelou He,Seck 3/4 by Calvin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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