© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


by Maya Angelou

Analysis: Steaminess Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?


There's no doubt about it—this one requires parental (or teacher) supervision for the wee ones. Between the rape, young adult sex, and graphic descriptions of genitalia, there's not much missing.

But is it steamy? Is there any hot and heavy lovemaking? Not so much.

Each time there is a sex act in Caged Bird, there is some expectation of love or romance, but it never appears. Maya wanted paternal love from Mr. Freeman, but what she got was pain and years of guilt. Bailey Jr. wanted love from Joyce, but she rapidly broke his heart. And Maya expected romance when she first had sex, but all she got was awkwardness—and an unexpected pregnancy.

Seems like a pretty grim message, if you ask us. Is there any way out of this sex=bad trap? What do you think?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...