I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a story about a Black female growing up in the American South during the 1930s and 40s. Maya Angelou, the narrator and author of this book, writes about growing up in a society filled with racism and hatred. From rape to racism, Maya Angelou has experienced an immense amount of hardships and grievances her whole life. Through these experiences, Maya learns the true meaning of courage, independence, and trust; she realizes that the hardships and various experiences in ones life can only make that person stronger in the end.
As a child, Maya was a very quiet and passive girl who rarely spoke her mind. When she was younger, a couple of powhitetrash girls went into her grandmothers store and harassed her. Maya was so scared that all she could do was curl herself up into a small corner and start crying; unable to stick up to those girls. However, her sudden development of courage is exemplified when she goes to visit her father in California. Maya gets into an argument with her fathers girlfriend, Dolores, and apparently, Dolores ends up calling Mayas mother a whore.
The new Maya, filled with anger, responded by slapping Dolores across the face. The small, reticent child had turned into a courageous, young woman. In the early years of her life, Maya had always been pretty dependent on her grandmother or brother. However, when she got older, she realized that she needed to do something on her own. As a result, she went out and found herself a job. Being a black girl, finding a job was not simple, but she managed without giving up. Her sedulous work granted her the position as the first black trolley conductor in San Francisco.
She had succeeded independently and did not give up without putting up a fight. Mayas one month stay in the junkyard taught her how to trust again. After the rape incident, Maya became very insecure and kept to herself most of the time. However, in the junkyard, she built a special camaraderie with her fellow run-away friends and was able to trust again. The open acceptance by her peers wiped away the feeling of insecurity that she had felt for such a long time. They initiated her into the brotherhood of man. They accepted Maya for the person she was inside; completely disregarding the color of her skin.
This regain in trust helped Maya make her decision in calling her mother and return back home. Her experience in the junkyard was truly a significant turning point in her life. The unforgettable experiences in Maya Angelous life has truly formed her into a bold and strong woman. Maya had to make the best of every bad situation, and she certainly did. In that in every situation, she learned something new about herself and, as a result, molded herself into a stronger woman. It is evident that Maya Angelou has dealt with her hardships pretty well, and that it has only made her stronger in the end.