I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Chapter 16: Summary and Analysis

Maya Angelou

Chapter 16: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Mrs. Viola Cullinan: Marguerite’s employer

Miss Glory: the cook who also works for Miss Cullinan

Chapter 16 describes the preparations for life given girls in the South. “While white girls learned to waltz and sit gracefully with a tea cup balanced . . . we were lagging behind, learning the mid-Victorian values.” Another preparation for life given to Black Southern girls is working in the kitchen or home of a white family. Ten-year-old Marguerite enrolls in this “finishing school” when she becomes an employee of Mrs. Cullinan.

Marguerite overhears her employer and guest talking about her. During the course of the conversation, she hears...

(The entire section is 677 words.)