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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

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Does Maya's relationship with Bailey change significantly throughout I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Why?

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The story is about two sisters Maya and Bailey. The story starts with Bailey being sent to live with her mother after her parents’ divorce. Maya stays with their grandmother Mama in Arkansas. Maya goes to live with her mother in St. Louis, and then returns to Mama after she is sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend.

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Maya’s relationship with Bailey shows the bond between siblings. The story starts off when they are young and having to endure the hardship of their parents' divorce. The backlash from the divorce is that the two children move from California to Arkansas. This helps to strengthen their bond. They have...

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each other's support in learning how to adjust to their new surroundings and living with their grandmother, Mama.

There is a separation when Maya goes to live with their mother in Saint Louis. The tragedy is that Maya is abused by her mother’s boyfriend. Maya is happy to return to her grandmother. This also makes the bond between Maya and Bailey more precious. The book provides a vivid picture of two children who have different experiences that help to enhance their love for each other.

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Yes, Maya's relationship with Bailey changes through the course of the book. The easiest reason for this is that they grow up and need one another less. Look at the way they depend on one another intensely early in the book and compare that to the intelligent independence manifest in the final pages and you'll see what I mean.

More specifically, their relationship changes when they encounter outside forces that have different impacts on them. For example, Mr. Freeman's abuse/rape of Maya draws her close to Bailey, but it also changes their relationship. She's fractured and turned inward by the pain, while Bailey is not. The appearance of their parents at various times also tugs them in different directions; the different relationships they have with their parents change their relationships.

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