I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Maya Angelou

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Momma decides that Marguerite should learn refined manners, and therefore sends Marguerite to work as a servant in a rich white woman’s house. The white woman insists on calling her Margaret, and then says that, actually, she prefers the name Mary. This makes Marguerite angry, and she exacts revenge by dropping a huge casserole dish on the floor right in front of the woman. This story is a source of endless entertainment and enjoyment for Marguerite and Bailey.
Here we see one of Marguerite’s first acts of defiance against racial inequality. Later, Marguerite will find more ways to resist and subvert racial hierarchies, such as by becoming the first black streetcar employee in San Francisco.
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