I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


In the book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings , by Maya Angelou, Marguerite, Uncle Willie, and Vivian are faced with many defeats but are never defeated.

There are many times in which Marguerite is faced with difficulties that she overcomes. Growing up in the poor South as a black and yet triumphing despite that fact is her biggest achievement.At about eight, she and her brother are moved to St.Louis to live with their mother. Moving from the South they are expected to be ignorant, but much to the contrary they are smarter. " We were moved up a grade because our teachers thought that we country children would make our classmates feel inferior- and we did." With that statement she shows that just because she comes from the South does not mean that she is uneducated, and both she and Bailey use this to their advantage and also to taunt their classmates. Much later, at fifteen, she sets her mind to working on the streetcars in San Francisco. The first problem with this plan is that they do not allow Negroes to work on the streetcars. The second problem being that she is too young to work. But she will not be defeated. "I would have the job. I would be a conductorette and sling a full money changer from my belt. I would." With these words and the determination to change the incredible backwardness of the white people she heads to the railway office. She eventually convinces them to back down and she gets a job working as a conductorette for the railways. Despite the maliciously chosen hours, she shows them that she will not back down. Soon after getting her job she becomes pregnant. Through her months of pregnancy she tells no one and no one helps her. She teaches herself how to deal with being an expectant mother and stay in school, and on top of all of this, continue work on the railway. She is completely self- sufficient. " I had had help in the child?s conception, but no one could deny that I had had an immaculate conception." She truly proves that no matter what happens to her that should make most people fall, she will prevail.

Vivian Baxter plays the role of the strongest and most self- sufficient woman in the book, and she is never defeated through all that occurs. Her advice to Marguerite upon her trying to get a job at the railway is, " That?s what you want to do? Then nothing beats a trial but a failure. Give it everything you've got. I?ve told you many times,? Can?t do is like Don?t Care.? Neither of them have a home." She definitely lives by this. She lives the life that was given to her, and she lives it to the best of its capacity. When there is little she could do about her money situation and her children are coming to live with her, she makes sure there is some way of a secure stream of money coming in. Marguerite says," Mother was competent in providing for us. Even if it meant getting someone else to furnish the provisions." She makes sure her children are cared for while maintaining her lifestyle. In these respects, she takes care of herself and never is defeated by being a black woman in a bigoted country.

 
Uncle Willie was born a healthy child, and a sort of freak accident occurs leaving him crippled. He does not let this make him any less of a authoritarian. He makes the children respect him, while no one else does. " In our society, where two- legged, two- armed, strong Black men were able at best to eke out only the necessities of life, Uncle Willie, with his starched shirts, shined shoes and shelves full of food, was the whipping boy and butt of jokes of the underemployed and underpaid." He forces the children to obey him by using what he has and if anyone had ever said anything to his face about his lameness he would have stood up for himself. No matter how strong he wants to be, he must do what he can to make sure his disability does not leave him in harm?s way. He does not allow his weakness