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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 6 Summary

  • Marguerite and Bailey Jr. hate the Reverend Howard Thomas. He is the presiding elder over Stamps' district, and he never remembers their names. That's bad enough, but he also always eats the best parts of the Sunday meal, leaving them the cold leftovers. Not cool. 
  • Whenever he comes to the Store, he and Momma share some juicy gossip. Bailey Jr. sneaks into the back to hear all the good parts, but usually it's just rumors about sex and white people. Bummer.
  • Reverend Thomas preaches the sermon on Sunday. Marguerite thinks it's going to be a long, boring service, but then she sees Sister Monroe.
  • Okay. Please check out this scene (again) because our summary cannot do justice to the Tom and Jerry type slapstick that is about to take place. We promise, you'll laugh out loud.
  • So Sister Monroe is a special lady. She doesn't get to church often because she lives far away, but when she does show up, everyone knows it.
  • Once, after missing church for a few months, she "got the spirit" and started attacking the Reverend Taylor, screaming "Preach it" (6.22). All the while, he was still trying to preach as if nothing had happened. Then, as if on cue, two other people "got the spirit" and attacked the Reverend until they had all fallen down. The Reverend asked the church to say a prayer thanking God that they "had been visited with a mighty spirit" (6.26). Hmmm.
  • The next Sunday, it was Elder Thomas' turn to preach the sermon, but he didn't know about Sister Monroe. This could get ugly.
  • Soon enough, Sister Monroe was once again running to the altar. Unlike Reverend Taylor, Elder Thomas started getting the heck off of the altar. But he didn't move quickly enough and she ended up hitting him over the head with her purse. His dentures flew out of his mouth and landed next to Marguerite's shoe. 
  • Too good to be true.
  • By the time Elder Thomas retrieved his teeth, Bailey Jr. and Marguerite were on the floor laughing, crying, and even farting and peeing. You didn't expect to see Marguerite peeing and crying in church again so soon, did you?
  • Somehow they ended up in the parsonage next to the church, where Uncle Willie beat them and told them to stop laughing. They couldn't, though, and the only thing that stopped Uncle Willie from beating them more was that their pained screams disturbed the church service. 
  • Maybe next time, Marguerite can go to church and not pee herself.

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