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What Have You Learned About the Racial Struggles in America in the 1930's and 1940's from Reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Essay

  • Submitted by: hayleighsnow
  • on April 3, 2014
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,803 words

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Below is an essay on "What Have You Learned About the Racial Struggles in America in the 1930's and 1940's from Reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

I know why the caged bird sings is an bildungsroman autobiography about an intelligent young black girl, Maya Angelou, that due to her awareness is very self-conscious about herself. Her parents divorced when she was young and sent her and her older brother, Bailey, to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas (1930's), which is in the deep South of America, during a time of great racial injustice. They soon return to live with their Mother for a short while in California where they see a whole different life (1940's). Maya grew up during a time of maltreatment and the oppression of black people, which she was fully aware of. She grows up facing a display of racism not only from present experiences, like the KKK lynchings, but also from the ghosts of histories past such as the American civil war in the 1860's and slavery right up to and past their legal freedom in 1863 that came from the emancipation proclamation. Racism is the biggest obstacle that Maya faces in her childhood.
        Angelou's mixture of an adults and child's perspective displays her confusion that sometimes occurs about the prejudice around her and her longing to be white. This view from Maya comes from her belief that she is only an ugly black girl who will never live up to the standards of the whites in 1930's America. She longs to look like an innocent white girl, as this is the ideological view of perfection for many people during this time which can be backed up by the quote 'everybody's dream of what was right with the world'. This is because these white girls are able to escape the intolerance that Maya wishes to avoid. Angelou explains how once she tries on the dress that Momma has sewn, she is going to look like a 'movie star' and a 'sweet little white girl', however,   when she puts it on, it is revealed to be a 'plain ugly cut-down from a white woman's once-was-purple throwaway'. This implies that however much she wants to be a 'sweet little white girl' and however much she...

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MLA Citation

"What Have You Learned About the Racial Struggles in America in the 1930's and 1940's from Reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?". Anti Essays. 11 Dec. 2018

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APA Citation

What Have You Learned About the Racial Struggles in America in the 1930's and 1940's from Reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://trenmayamx.com/free-essays/What-Have-You-Learned-About-The-603587.html