In the 1930s, the United States was madly suffering from racial segregation, and Stamps, Arkansas, the setting for the beginning of the book, was no different.
Although this little town is not the location for the entire book, it is the one that Angelou grows up in, the one that shows her how she must live in a world where one race was valued over her own.
But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage Can seldom see through his bars of rage His wings are clipped and his feet are tied So he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill Of things unknown but longed for still And his tune is heard on the distant hill for The caged bird sings of freedom.
She falls in love with Shakespeare, and her ability to read, understand, and explore literature at such a young age breaks the misconceptions that poor, black people, especially women, were not able to better themselves through education.
Angelou was surrounded by these racist stereotypes throughout her entire childhood, but the very act of writing this book, and many other astounding works, proves that these barriers can be taken down.(Caged Bird Essay) Other schools have chosen not to ban the book by just deleting the rape chapters.The use of language in the scene of Angelou's rape is hardly explicit, yet it does deal with a sensitive issue and evoke a strong emotional response.Unfortunately, the painful memories of Angelou’s past still accompany the lives of so many Americans today.Stories like Angelou’s, however, give a voice to the voiceless, and perhaps one day, the caged bird will be able to sing without bars, blood, or scars.Others believe that I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings might do what parents fear most – raise important issues while leaving the young reader no avenue to discover his or her relationship to those ideas. The story consists of Angelou's experiences when she was growing up which includes graphic scenarios.For example, when she described her rape by her mothers boyfriend at the age of eight.This is where Angelou weaves the metaphor of the caged bird that she introduces in her title.“I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” is the first line of the third stanza of a poem called “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.The free bird thinks of another breeze And the trade winds soft through The sighing trees And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright Lawn and he names the sky his own.But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream His wings are clipped and his feet are tied So he opens his throat to sing.