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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 12 Summary

  • Maya's mother doesn't come home one Friday night.
  • The next morning, Mr. Freeman approaches Maya and rapes her. She is eight years old and doesn't remember much besides the pain. This is one of the most critical scenes of the novel—we suggest reading it now.
  • When Maya is conscious again, Mr. Freeman tells her that he will kill her and Bailey Jr. if she tells anyone about the rape. Then he sends her to the library so that everything seems normal.
  • She tries to hide it, but the pain of the rape is too much for Maya, and her family notices something is wrong. They assume that she is sick.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Freeman and Vivian argue, and Mr. Freeman leaves the house.
  • Later, when taking care of Maya, her mother and brother uncover her hidden, bloody underwear and realize that she has been raped.

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