I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

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Chapter 6: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Reverend Howard Thomas: the presiding elder

Reverend Taylor: the pastor of the church

Sister Monroe: a church member who often “gets the spirit”

Deacon Jackson: a church member who gets involved in a church scene

Sister Willson: in charge of the ushers and gets involved in the scene

Chapter 6 describes both the visits of the Reverend Howard Thomas to the home of Mrs. Henderson and the humorous events within a special church service. Marguerite and Bailey dislike the visits of Reverend Thomas because he eats the best parts of the chicken at Sunday dinner. At one of the church services when Reverend Thomas visits Reverend Taylor’s church, Sister Monroe “gets the spirit” and attacks Reverend Taylor; all the while she screams, “Preach it.” Deacon Jackson and Sister Willson join the fray as they try to control Sister Monroe. Reverend Thomas manages to outstep her, but she finally hits him and his teeth fly out. When Marguerite and Bailey become hysterical with laughter, Uncle Willie takes them outside and gives them the whipping of their lives. For weeks after, Bailey would try to get Marguerite to laugh again by whispering, “Preach it!”

The children are maturing and assuming more responsibility, but they still often misbehave and are treated like children. For instance, Uncle Willie confronts and punishes the children when they act up in church. The difficulties they still have in controlling themselves is evident when both Bailey and...

(The entire section is 370 words.)