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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

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Chapter 15: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Who was the person who helped Marguerite stop “sopping around the house . . . like an old biscuit”?

2. Why did Mrs. Flowers appeal to Marguerite?

3. Why was it fortunate that Marguerite never saw Mrs. Flowers in the company of powhitefolks?

4. Why was Marguerite—not Bailey—sent home with Mrs. Flowers?

5. What was the reason that a child would go home from the Store with Mrs. Flowers?

6. Why did Mrs. Henderson make Marguerite take off her dress in front of Mrs. Flowers?

7. Why did Marguerite not protest taking her dress off in front of Mrs. Flowers?

8. What did Mrs. Flowers say separated the animals from people?

9. What did Mrs. Flowers lend to Marguerite?

10. What did Mrs. Flowers give Marguerite to eat?

1. Mrs. Flowers helped Marguerite to stop sopping around like a biscuit.

2. Mrs. Flowers appealed to Marguerite because she was like people that Marguerite had never met personally; she was like women in English novels who walked the moors, who drank tea in front of roaring fireplaces, who walked the “heath” and read morocco-bound books, who had two last names divided by a hyphen. She was like people Marguerite dreamed of becoming.

3. Marguerite was probably fortunate in never seeing Mrs. Flowers with the powhitetrash because they probably would have spoken to her commonly and called her Bertha. Marguerite would have had to admit that Mrs. Flowers was a real person, a human being with frailties.

4. Mrs. Flowers asked that Marguerite—not Bailey—go with her. This visit, the reader senses, may have been planned by Mrs. Henderson and Mrs. Flowers.

5. A child was sent home from the store with Mrs. Flowers to help her carry her purchases.

6. Marguerite had to take off her dress so that Mrs. Henderson could show Mrs. Flowers her needlework.

7. Marguerite was afraid that if she protested her grandmother would think she was womanish; she also thought it would remind her grandmother of what had happened in St. Louis.

8. Mrs. Flowers said that language separated the animals from people.

9. Mrs. Flowers gave Marguerite a book of poems to take home with her.

10. Mrs. Flowers gave Marguerite some cookies to eat and lemonade to drink.

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