I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Please point to some specific examples of symbolism in chapters 1-5 of Maya Angelou's novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

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Symbolism can be an effective technique in writing, and various examples of symbolism can be found in Maya Angelou’s novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Among the examples of symbolism in the first five chapters of the novel are the following:

  • The very first words of the book symbolize a number of important themes of the rest of the novel, including travel, instability, family tensions, and family relations, especially Marguerite’s close relationship with her brother Bailey:

When I was three and Bailey four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed – “To Whom It May Concern” – that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr. . . .

Our parents had decided to put an end to their calamitous marriage, and Father had shipped us home to his mother.

These sentences also immediately symbolize that...

(The entire section contains 438 words.)

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