Why does Marguerite admire Mrs. Flowers in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

1 Answer

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Marguerite describes Mrs. Flowers as an aristocrat, someone to be admired, the "measure of what a human being could be." To Marguerite, the most wonderful quality of Mrs. Flowers is the fact that this beautiful, wonderful human being likes her solely for what she herself is, not because she is Bailey's sister or the child of her grandmother. This singular sentiment is an affirmation of Marguerite's value as an individual, and it makes all the difference in how she feels towards Mrs. Bertha Flowers.

Mrs. Flowers befriends the reticent Marguerite, encouraging her to talk because, she explains, words must be spoken, "It takes the human voice to infuse them with the deeper shades of meaning." Mrs. Flowers demonstrates by reading from the first chapter of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times, the worst of times..." and Marguerite is fascinated with the musicality of the language: 

She opened the first page and I heard poetry for the first time.

And so, she practices and gains confidence in reading aloud, thus emerging from  the sensory withdrawal caused by her traumatic experience. This time with Mrs. Flowers is uniquely hers alone, and she is instilled with confidence while also learning some of the social graces.