In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, how does Marguerite's feeling of "I didn't come to stay" affect her behavior in St. Louis?Chapter 11
Marguerite and her brother Bailey have been shuttled around among relatives a lot in their young lives. In order to protect herself from being hurt if their latest living arrangements do not work, Marguerite takes refuge in the fantasy world she finds through reading. About her stay in St. Louis, she says,
"In my mind I only stayed in St. Louis for a few weeks. As quickly as I understood that I had not reached my home, I sneaked away to Robin Hood's forest and the caves of Alley Oop where all reality was unreal and even that changed every day. I carried the same shield that I had used in Stamps: "I didn't come to stay."
Confused by the neglect of her mother and the improper sexual advances of Mr. Freeman, her mother's boyfriend, Marguerite withdraws into the safe world provided by books and newspapers. She reads sophisticated material far above what most children her age would read; she thinks Horatio Alger is "the greatest writer in the world," and loves the characters he creates because they are "always good, (and) always (win)." Marguerite is also much influenced by the Sunday funnies, admiring "the strong heroes who always (conquer) in the end." She identifies with the literary character Tiny Tim, and especially enjoys reading about the adventures of the Katzenjammer kids, who always outwit the adults in their lives, but are "a little too smart-alecky for (her) taste" (Chapter 11).