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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ()

Feminista 100 Greatest Works of 20th Century Fiction by Women Writers

First let me say that I liked this book much better than I expected to.  Angelou's prose, as one would expect, is often poetic and she looks back at her early life with little of the anger and hatred which so marred Richard Wright's Black Boy (see Orrin's review).  That said, let me also say that I agree with the school boards that have banned the book from libraries and classrooms.  The scenes where, as a child, she is sexually accosted by one of her mother's friends are too disturbing for young readers; heck, it was too disturbing for me.  But more importantly, the book ends with her triumphantly getting herself with child, though still a teen.  I can think of no message more inappropriate for young readers.  Let them wait and read the book in a couple years, it will still be around and they will have developed a fuller and more appropriate personal context in which to judge it.


Grade: (B)


A.C. mentions banning "all T.V. shows."...hmmm, would civilization end?

- Jon Grena

- Oct-20-2006, 06:53


I totally disagree with Orrins thoughts.

- Susie

- Mar-30-2006, 08:16


In my opinion, parents should not have a problem with their children being introduced to new ideas. Apparently, people these days are far too sensitive. There should not be a problem with the idea of young adults relating with issues of such sort. The book is said to encourage teen pregnancy, when really, it gives her experience of teen pregnancy. The whole thing and all of the reasons for challenging the novel are blown out of proportion. As far as being too graphic, I believe that is a ridiculous judgement... those things happen and people, mainly parents are trying to censor their children from something they see all the time on television. If you're going to ban this book you might as well ban all television shows in the process. Angelou is just portraying her difficulties as a girl growing up. I don't see the problem.

- a.c

- Jun-08-2005, 22:17


i disaagree, i think that school boards should keep this book in shools and let it be part of the classroom, even though there might be some disturbing things in this book such as her rape there is nothing wrong with school children such as myself reading it.i also think no matter how young you are you learn from other's mistakes as well as your own.

- BENDISA , 14

- Jun-02-2004, 13:52