I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Chapter 24: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
The nurse of Dentist Lincoln: described by Mrs. Henderson as “snippity”

Dr. Lincoln: a dentist in Stamps

Dr. Baker: a dentist in Texarkana, Arkansas

Chapter 24 describes in detail the pain that Marguerite experiences with her tooth and the prejudice she experiences at the office of Dr. Lincoln. After Marguerite and Mrs. Henderson wait over an hour in the sun, Dr. Lincoln refuses to see Marguerite. He says, “I’d rather stick my hand in a dog’s mouth than in a nigger’s.” After Mrs. Henderson “backed up inside herself for a few minutes,” Mrs. Henderson walks inside the office without knocking. Later Marguerite and her grandmother make a trip all the way to Texarkana, Arkansas, to get help for the tooth.

Mrs. Henderson later tells Uncle Willie what happened when she went inside the office again. She asked Dr. Lincoln for the money he owed her. Dr. Lincoln explained that he had repaid the money some time ago, but Mrs. Henderson insisted that there was now interest; she took ten dollars for the trip to Texarkana as full payment. “Even though by rights he was paid up before, I figger, he gonna be that kind of nasty, he gonna have to pay...

(The entire section is 398 words.)