Character AnalysisI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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In Maya Angelou's autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya's beautiful, vivacious biological mother, Vivian Baxter, emerges as an important character in her daughter's life. Vivian endures as a black woman in a white man's world by displaying strength, honesty, and toughness, which lead to self- preservation. Vivian lives within the St. Louis jazz society where blacks are faced with " the hostility of the powerless against the powerful, the poor against the rich, …

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…help change and mold her daughter, Maya. Ms. Angelou refers to long ago situations with such striking detail that it is evident her mother played an essential role in her life. The author calls her parent "Mother Dear" in a respectful, not condescending, tone. Additionally, Angelou capitalizes "Mother" in this autobiography, while "father" remains in lowercase. The reader concludes that, purposefully or not, the character Vivian Baxter played an important role in Maya Angelou's life.