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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

by Maya Angelou

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Chapter 5: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What were the two commandments of Mrs. Henderson?

2. What was the joke Grandmother Henderson told as she instructed the children to bathe carefully?

3. Why was Marguerite afraid to draw water at night?

4. Where must one never look to show respect?

5. What term was given to the dirty white children who had no manners?

6. What did Marguerite do to make the yard outside the Store more attractive?

7. What design did Marguerite make before the children came?

8. What design did Marguerite make after the children came?

9. What did Mrs. Henderson do while the children mocked her?

10. How did Mrs. Henderson feel after the children left?

1. “Thou shall not be dirty” and “Thou shall not be impudent” were Grandmother Henderson’s two commandments.

2. Grandma Henderson told the children to “wash as far as possible, then wash possible.”

3. Marguerite was afraid to draw water at night because she was afraid snakes might come.

4. One must never look in a person’s face if one wishes to show respect.

5. Marguerite called the dirty white children with no manners “powhitetrash.”

6. Marguerite made designs in the dirt with her rake.

7. Marguerite made fans before the children came.

8. Marguerite made concentric hearts with an arrow piercing them after the children came.

9. Mrs. Henderson stood with the upper part of her body erect and sang hymns while the powhitetrash taunted her.

10. Mrs. Henderson seemed happy with her behavior after the children left.

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Chapter 6: Questions and Answers