I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings | Study Guide

Maya Angelou

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Course Hero. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Know-Why-the-Caged-Bird-Sings/>.

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Course Hero. (2016, October 13). I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 18, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Know-Why-the-Caged-Bird-Sings/

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Course Hero. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide." October 13, 2016. Accessed November 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Know-Why-the-Caged-Bird-Sings/.

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Course Hero, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide," October 13, 2016, accessed November 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/I-Know-Why-the-Caged-Bird-Sings/.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings | Chapter 29 | Summary

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Summary

In San Francisco, Maya's family lives in a 14-room house they share with a variety of boarders. The roomers bring Maya into contact with a broad spectrum of people, from shipyard workers to prostitutes to restaurant owners. At first, Maya is inclined to ignore Daddy Clidell, but she begins to appreciate his straightforward, honest personality. He has become a successful businessman in spite of his lack of education. While her mother, Vivian, coaches Maya in social behavior, Daddy Clidell teaches her to play poker and other card games, and he introduces her to some colorful con men he knows to teach her about cons so she'll never be taken in. Maya enjoys hearing the stories about how African American men manage to take advantage of bigoted whites by using their prejudice against them. She feels a certain amount of illegal behavior can be tolerated in order to help balance out scales that have been weighted by oppression and prejudice.

Analysis

Daddy Clidell turns out to be a good stepfather, and he's a better father figure in Maya's life than Daddy Bailey. For the first time in her life, Maya has two parents to give her attention and guidance. Daddy Clidell provides guidance in a somewhat unusual way when he invites a group of con men to share stories about their successful cons with Maya. Maya is proud of the con men's success at using their ingenuity to gain wealth and take revenge on white privilege. If Momma knew about Maya's ethics regarding the con men, she might be shocked, but then again, after Momma's experience with Dentist Lincoln, she, too, might approve of the con men's success.

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