I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Chapter 3 Summary
- Marguerite is obsessed with measuring dry goods in the store by sight. She wants to be so good at it that when she messes up, she punishes herself. Her punishment? She can't eat any canned pineapples. She loves these things so much that she dreams about them. Go figure.
- Marguerite tells us about the mood of the Store (her favorite place to be) throughout the day. In the morning, it's full of potential; in the afternoon, it's tired; and just before bedtime, when the family is eating dinner, it's full of quiet hopefulness again. Ah, the circle of life. Slash time. Slash the Store.
- One day, after Marguerite and Bailey finish their evening chores, the former sheriff Mr. Stewart rides up to their home.
- He gives a warning to Mamma: "Annie, tell Willie he better lay low tonight. A crazy nigger messed with a white lady today. Some of the boys'll be coming over here later" (3.9). In case you didn't catch that, it translates to "Hide Uncle Willie because the Ku Klux Klan is planning to kill black men tonight." Well, then.
- Momma, being the practical lady that she is, quickly gets to work turning out the lights and hiding her son in a potato bin.
- Despite Mr. Stewart's warning, the Klan doesn't ride through town that night. Thank goodness. Uncle Willie spends the night moaning loudly (and audibly) underneath the potato bin.
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