I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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What individuals serve as positive role models for Maya in "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"?

What individuals serve as positive role models for Maya in "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"?

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Maya Angelou gives an account of her formative years in I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing. It is through this account that we establish how the women in her life mold her into the person she becomes. The first person to have a profound influence on Angelou is her maternal grandmother, Momma Henderson. Momma is a strict disciplinarian who instills the values of survival, hard work, respect, education, and salvation on Angelou. She is entrepreneurial; owns the only black store in Stamp, manages to sustain it during the depression, owns the land, and even lends money to some well-known white individuals.

Mrs. Flowers is another of Maya’s role models. She is the one who encourages Maya to speak again after her five-year-long muteness due to the traumatic rape experience. She supports and helps nurture Maya’s enthusiasm for literature and knowledge.

At George Washington High, Maya encounters Mrs. Kurwin, who took particular interest in developing her intellectual capacity. She helps spark...

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