Study Guide

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Love

By Maya Angelou


How many times are the words "I love you" written in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Go count 'em, we'll wait. Back so soon? Yeah, we thought so. Love definitely isn't oozing out of the pages of this book. And because of that, our characters go searching for it—in sex, in religion, in acceptance. By becoming a mother, Maya will be able to give the love she never received—and we're pretty sure she'll finally feel it in return.

Questions About Love

  1. How are love and sex related in Caged Bird? How does their relationship cause problems for our girl?
  2. Who loves and is loved in this novel? Is love always reciprocated?
  3. What kinds of love are depicted in Caged Bird? Familial? Romantic? Sexual? All/none of the above?
  4. Maya has a whole bunch of moms and dads in her early years. Do each of the mother- and father-figures in Maya's life love her? In what ways?

Chew on This

Momma is unable to express her love for Maya and Bailey in words, but it is apparent in her actions.

Love and sex are mistakenly conflated in this novel, but there's never really any sex with love in Caged Bird.