I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Chapter 30: Summary and Analysis

Maya Angelou

Chapter 30: Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Dolores Stockland: Daddy’s new girlfriend

Summary
Chapter 30 takes place in San Francisco, Southern California where Marguerite’s father now lives, Mexico, and then in Southern California again. At her father’s invitation Marguerite leaves San Francisco and her mother to visit her father in southern California. There Marguerite meets Dolores, her father’s new girlfriend, for the first time. Marguerite and Dolores’s relationship is a strained one from the first meeting. Dolores is surprised to find Bailey’s daughter is almost as old as she; Marguerite is surprised that her father’s girlfriend is very young. The two young women find their habits are very different and that living under one roof makes for problems.

One day Bailey, Sr., takes Marguerite with him to Mexico for a night of drinking and carousing. Because her father is intoxicated, Marguerite, who has never driven before, ends up having to drive home and wrecks the car. Bailey gets her out of the difficulty, but the incident causes hard feelings between father and daughter.

Analysis
Marguerite feels very resentful toward her father. She does not think he recognizes her accomplishment in driving and she questions how he was able to recover so quickly from his drunkenness. In addition, conflict has existed between Dolores and Marguerite since the first time that they meet. Marguerite fails to be the child that Dolores prepares to meet and Dolores is much younger and much more “tight” than Marguerite would have preferred. Marguerite believes that Dolores is attempting to pose as “the Black bourgeoisie without the material basis to support the poses.” She sees Dolores as trying to be something she is not. Dolores, on the other hand, sees Marguerite not as a child but as a rival.