I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

what was marguerite's concept of God

concept of God

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This excerpt from gradesaver explains her feelings as a child; I think that's what you're asking for.

Angelou describes the guilt that she felt because of lying in court, and because she had let Mr. Freeman touch her before, and had liked being held by him. Although it seems strange that a child would feel that they did something wrong when they were hurt by an adult, Angelou shows that as a child she was unable to make this connection, and understand that she wasn't guilty. Also, that young Maya would feel worse about lying than about being raped seems not to make sense; but the shame of what happened, and the shame of having to hide it, is harder on her than the actual physical crime against her.

To describe her guilt, Angelou compares the policeman who brings news of Mr. Freeman's death to a "recording angel" who knows of her sins; she thinks she has "evilness" in her, and will not go to heaven. She takes all the blame for Mr. Freeman's death, though she did not do it, and even her small lie wouldn't have changed things. Her lie, she thins, would "flood the world and drown all the innocent people"; this image relates how overwhelmed Maya is by her guilt, and how bad she feels over her lie.

"Just my breath, carrying my words out, might poison people and they'd curl up and die like the black fat slugs that only pretended"; this image that Angelou uses, of poisoning people with her words, explains her decision to be mute in the most vivid terms. Since her voice was the source of her one sin, her lie in court, she thinks that her voice must be evil by association. Young Maya's decision is hard to understand in adult terms, since it is not strictly logical: but, the images she uses to tell of her guilt and her feelings expose her child-like logic and how she chose to become mute. The religious belief that had been engrained in her by her Momma is also a cause of this decision. She truly thinks that she has "sold herself to the Devil" just through one innocent lie, and since she cannot tell and be absolved of her guilt, she lets it separate her from the world, and take away her will to communicate.