I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
How we cite our quotes:
When I was described by our playmates as being shit color, he was lauded for his velvet-black skin. His hair fell down in black curls, and my head was covered with black steel wool. And yet he loved me. (4.9)
As if being unattractive weren't enough, Maya's brother is a total stud-to-be. Those words "and yet" show us just how surprised she is that Bailey loves her despite her ugliness. Appearances and love are really mashed together for this girl—why is that? (Oh, and by the way, the kids in her town are mean. Yikes!)
I knew immediately why she had sent me away. She was too beautiful to have children. I had never seen a woman as pretty as she who was called "Mother." (9.15)
Why can't moms be beautiful and motherly? What is Maya implying about motherhood? And how did this idea make its way into her head in the first place?
Then the possibility of being compared with him occurred to me, and I didn't want anyone to see him. (9.2)
You did your homework. Nay, you nailed your homework. You're sure your project is a solid A+. And then Sally comes in and her poster has sponge paint on it. Sponge paint! Suddenly, you feel like you're going to fail. Yeah, that's Maya's life—except that Sally is her dad, and she never thinks she's an A+ to begin with. (Okay, so maybe that's not the best comparison, but we're still reeling about sponge-paint girl in high school!)