Study Guide

Daddy Clidell in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou

Daddy Clidell

Remember all that stuff about Daddy Bailey? Okay, now take all of that, reverse it, and you have Daddy Clidell. Ta-da! Daddy Clidell is everything that Daddy Bailey is not—especially a father to Maya.

Unlike the other men in Maya's life (Mr. Freeman and Daddy Bailey), Daddy Clidell treats her as a father should: he teaches her life lessons, tells her stories, and shows her how to play cards. In fact, he seems pretty excited to be a dad, even though he never had kids of his own.

While Daddy Bailey seems to be striving for grandeur, Clidell is self-confident without being boastful:

He was a simple man who had no inferiority complex about his lack of education and, even more amazing, no superiority complex because he had succeeded despite that lack. (29.2)

At first, Maya thought he was just another of her mother's boy-toys, but he ends up being a pretty important influence on her life.