I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Chapter 34: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
A receptionist: works at the employment office of the Market Street Railway Company in San Francisco

A street car conductorette: treats Marguerite with less than courtesy

Summary
This chapter describes in detail 15-year-old Marguerite’s search for a job when her room begins to be as cheerful as a dungeon. She rules out many jobs and finally settles on streetcar conductorette. Vivian tells her that “They don’t accept colored people on streetcars,” but she encourages Marguerite to try for the job if she wants it. Even after a rebuke from the receptionist, Marguerite does not give up; she continues to apply and calls on Negro organizations to help. Marguerite at last is hired—just why she never knows. Marguerite becomes the first Negro conductorette on the San Francisco streetcars.

Marguerite returns to school after one semester and begins to cut classes. She and her mother agree to be honest with each other: Marguerite will tell her mother when she plans to cut classes. Marguerite may cut classes if her school work is up to standard and if she has no tests scheduled. Vivian explains that she does not want a white woman to tell her about her own daughter nor does she want to be placed...

(The entire section is 411 words.)