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1ENG 3UE - 0127 May 2016Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: A Tale of HatredHatred is a folly that can be tracked throughout history: through the War of 1812, World War 1, World War 2 or the Cold War. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography by Maya Angelou, tells the tale of her personal experience during the Jim Crows Era -a time of socially acceptable racism- and endures through innumerable incidents of racism and misogyny during her time in Stamp, Arkansas. The primary focus of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is tosurface the nature of which individuals unnecessarily exaggerate situations; resulting in a heightened response. Through character traits, symbolism and conflicts, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings highlights how individuals have a tendency to unreasonably intensify conflict. Thus, society should learn to control emotions since the exaggeration of conflict may trap individuals in a cycle of hatred.To begin, through character traits, the novel demonstrates that individuals have a tendency to unreasonably intensify situations, conclusively fueling cycles of animosity. For example, the business partner of Vivian, Angelou's mother, speaks to her in a vulgar fashion; it results in her taking immediate action. When the business partner again, in a "foolhardy gesture, relieves himself of still another 'bitch' - [Vivian] shot him" (Angelou 110). Vivian demonstrates rashness through her action. While it is true the business partner was acting aggressively, there was no physical act of violence towards Vivian. Even so, Vivian heightens the situation in her mind to the point that she feels compelled to shoot her business partner. Furthermore, when Angelou visits the dentist and Vivian asks the dentist to treat her daughter, the dentist replies
2"everybody has a policy. In this world you have to have policy. Now, my policy is I don't treat colored people" (Angelou 100). By turning down profit due to his refusal to treat coloured people, the dentist is irrational. The dentist reacts ridiculously surrounding the issue of treating colored patients. Escalation Theory explains why these drastic actions were taken in these incidents. According to one of the theories of Maiese, a conflict theorist, if there are no "'norms