I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Describe Marguerites version of Mommas confrontation with Dentist Lincoln. Why is it important ?


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They get to Dr. Lincoln's, and wait on the back porch for an hour. Momma asks for Maya to be treated, but the dentist insists that he doesn't treat negro patients. Momma insists, since she had lended him money to keep his place during the Depression; he says since the money is all paid back, he doesn't owe her anything anymore.

Momma tells Maya to wait outside, while she goes in to talk to Dr. Lincoln; Maya describes a fantasy scene, in which Momma gets revenge against Dr. Lincoln and makes him apologize for his insults to her. Momma does nothing of the sort, and resolves to take Maya to the black doctor many miles away in Texarkana.

Dr. Lincoln's statement that he would "rather stick [his] hand in a dog's mouth than in a nigger's," is the most blatant example of racism so far in the book. But, again, Momma Henderson cannot ignore the racial codes of behavior that she has learned, and cannot stand up to Dr. Lincoln. Maya, although young, is already beginning to feel a lot of anger toward racism, and she is also angry that Momma is unable to stand up to white people when they are completely out of line. Momma seems to embody some paradoxical traits, as she is usually bold and strong, but when confronted with racism, becomes weak and quiet.