Experiences of Marginalized Women: Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in Focus

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Experiences of marginalized women in America have been less studied since African- American literature, unlike in the present times, was not taken as an integral part of American literature. Though it gets better attention now, it is impossible to say it accorded the level it deserves. Maya Angelou, who won Pulitzer Prize for her first volume of autobiography-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is one of the significant authors who talk loud in addressing blacks’ experience in America. This paper has attempted to explore experiences of African-American women by taking Angelou’s novel in focus. The foundation of the research is laid in chapter one; in the background of the study, the statement of the problem, objective, significance, scope and methodology of the study have been discussed. Trends of Afro-American literature were presented as changing from being neglected into better status of concern. Autobiographies of black women have been ignored more severely than the rest of writings in the world. Hence, by applying text based analysis, the researcher planned to achieve the objective of exploring black feminine experiences in America with special reference to Angelou’s novel. To realize the objectives that are set in the first chapter, detailed explanation has been given on the central concepts of feminist literary criticism in general and black feminism in particular preceded by a discussion of local and global studies on the same area to the current research. Studies have been made on different works by raising distinguished issues under the umbrella of feminist concept. It has been confirmed that the current research is distinctive since it focuses on the exploitation of marginalized women’s experiences set in in Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. By the conceptual framework of the study, discussions about African-American literary history, criticism and its form of resistance together with the concept of black feminism have been provided. iv In light of the theoretical concepts of Black feminism an attempt has been made to analyze the novel under study in chapter three. In this part, the novel has been analyzed thoroughly to explore dominant feminine experiences revealed in the text. Under the framework of black feminist reading, the researcher has critically analyzed unique experiences of black women from the rest of the world. Race, gender and class issues were the general brands of black women’s oppression. Hence, racial prejudices against black women and the response to the injustices have been discussed based on the nature of resistance from helpless anger to outright protest. In addition, sexual abuse and segregation followed by ignorance and maternity have been analyzed as interlocked oppressions of black feminism. The paper was closed by raising key points of the study in brief. As it has been shown in the analysis of the novel under study, Angelou was able to reflect the multiple oppressions of black women in America. Furthermore, she indicated her feminist vision through the portrayals of optimist, thoughtful, kind and faithful characters.



Marginalized Women: Maya Angelou’s