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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 4 Summary

  • Mr. McElroy, a guy in town, is an "independent Black man" who doesn't smile, talk much, or go to church. Marguerite wonders if he's a gangster, but it turns out he's just a regular dude.
  • Then there is Bailey Jr. who is—as the youth say—all that and a bag of chips. Unlike Marguerite, he is beautiful, graceful, funny, and good at stealing pickles. Yep, he's a trickster—but he gets away with it because everyone likes him. Don't you just hate that?
  • Maya, on the other hand, is always told how ugly she is. Well, then.
  • In Stamps, all the food is preserved. Nearly everything the children eat for most of the year is stored in a smokehouse near the Store, packed away, and cut up perfectly like frozen TV dinners.
  • But twice a year, Momma wants them to have fresh food. And so they are sent into the white part of Stamps to get some meat.
  • Going to this area of town seems like entering a fairytale land. After all, because of segregation, many black children didn't know what white people looked like. Marguerite doesn't even believe that white people are real. (White people: myth or fact?)

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