Course Hero Logo

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 1 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, October 13). I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 1, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide." October 13, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2023.


Course Hero, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Study Guide," October 13, 2016, accessed June 1, 2023,

Chapter 29

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 29 of Maya Angelou's autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

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


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.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!