Why did Maya Angelou entitle her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?    

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ms-einstein eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maya Angelou named the book after one of her poems by the same name. The caged bird has clipped wings and tied feet. It sings of fear and sorrow, and its voice carries far away, although no one helps it escape. Meanwhile, the free bird can claim the sky as his own and explore its heights. In her autobiography, Angelou was like the caged bird. She was a black female growing up in the segregated south during the Depression. Essentially because of her race and gender, she was invisible to society. She could call for help, but no one would heed the call of an impoverished black girl.

hnk | Student

It is said that the title comes from the poem Sympathy, by Paul Laurence Dunbar(1872-1924). He was the son of escaped slaves and wrote about a bird in a cage which has beaten the bars until its wings are bruised. Its song is not a song of joy, but a prayer for freedom.  since Maya wrote this in the time of Civil rights movement and behalf of MLK, probably maya decided to entitle her first life story to give lectures to people from then, now, and to the future refering her favorite writer one poem.   

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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