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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Chapter 10 Summary

  • Now there is a new grandmother in Marguerite's life, Grandmother Baxter. She is "nearly white," of German decent, and happily married to the West Indian Grandfather Baxter.
  • The black part of St. Louis is a mix between the Wild West and Las Vegas. Anything goes. And we mean anything.
  • A decent amount of time is spent describing the new foods that the children eat, including jellybeans, sliced ham, and German brätwurst. Sounds like Marguerite is a foodie.
  • At their new school, Marguerite and Bailey Jr. are smarter than most of the students, and they are pushed up two grades so they don't embarrass the other children. In totally dorky fashion, Bailey teases the other children with history trivia questions. 
  • Vivian's brothers, Uncles Tutti, Tom, and Ira, are well known in town, particularly for being "mean" (10.18). We're not sure what "mean" means, until we hear another of Marguerite's stories.
  • One night, Pat Patterson cursed Vivian, and she told her brothers. Their reaction? Find him, trap him in a saloon, and let Vivian "beat his ass" with a club until he can't move (10.22). Oh. So that's what she means by "mean." Noted.
  • Marguerite admires her uncles, and Uncle Tommy is her favorite. He tells her not to worry that she isn't the hottest girl on the block. Um… that's not the nicest thing we've ever heard, but whatever.
  • Finally we learn how Marguerite became Maya. As a little boy, Bailey Jr. refused to call her Marguerite and instead said that she was "Mya Sister," then "My," and finally "Maya" (10.29). Ta da! This is totally the cutest section in the whole novel.
  • Bailey Jr. and Maya move from the house they shared with their uncles and grandparents to a house with Vivian and her boyfriend, Mr. Freeman.
  • Maya's not really concerned about the change—she knows things are different for her and her brother.

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