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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

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Quote #1

Moving from the house where the family was centered meant absolutely nothing to me. It was simply a small pattern in the grand design of our lives. (10.30)

Because she's been moving her whole life, it just doesn't faze her anymore. If you've ever had to pick up your whole life and move it to another place, you know how scary it can be. But to Maya, it means "absolutely nothing." What do you think—is she jaded? Resigned to her situation? Or just a super laid-back kind of girl?

Quote #2

Teenagers enjoyed revivals as much as adults. They used the night outside meetings to play at courting. The impermanence of a collapsible church added to the frivolity, and their eyes flashed and winked and the girls giggled little silver drops in the dusk while the boys postured and swaggered and pretended not to notice. (18.18)

In Maya's life, not even the church is there to stay. When you know something isn't permanent, it makes it a little easier to try on a new identity—like being a sexy teenage stud.

Quote #3

My sorrow at leaving was confined to a gloom at separating from Bailey for a month (we had never been parted), the imagined loneliness of Uncle Willie (he put on a good face, though at thirty-five he'd never been separated from his mother) and the loss of Louise, my first friend. I wouldn't miss Mrs. Flowers, for she had given me her secret word which called forth a djinn who was to serve me all my life: books. (25.23)

Maya's djinn—books—will never leave her side. People and places come and go (and how, for Maya), but you can always hold on to an important feeling. No one can ever take that genius idea for an extra season of Lost away from you.

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