I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Chapter 25: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Mr. Bubba: a Black man

Nameless white man: man who taunts Bailey

Summary
Chapter 25 describes in detail how Bailey sees a “colorless” person pulled from the river; Bailey is forced to help carry the body and is threatened with being locked in the calaboose. Bailey is horrified at what he has seen. It is at this time that Mrs. Henderson decides that they are going on a trip to California.

Analysis
Bailey is maturing and as a young, virile male is a threat to the caste system in the eyes of many white men; in this chapter one white male reminds him of “his place.”

The event profoundly affects Bailey. He tries to tell his family what he has seen and Marguerite notes that he talks so fast that he forgets to stutter. Marguerite tells the reader that Bailey’s “little face was no longer black but a dirty, colorless gray” after he sees the dead man.

Imagery helps the reader visualize what Bailey saw: “he had no color at all. He was bloated...

(The entire section is 340 words.)