I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Help With Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing

 Is Maya’s view always accurate? Is she a reliable narrator? Why or why not? Consider the perspective of the story.  Is it told solely through the eyes of the young Marguerite? Or is an older, wiser Angelou also present in the book? How does the narration affect our reception of the text?

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There is a big difference between the young Maya and the older Maya. While she is a child, she understandably has a childlike view of situations that may not always be reliable. The reader has to often read between the surfaces of things. Maya is confused about Baily Jr. not telling the truth and Mr. Freeman not being able to kill him. Also Mr. Freeman's "mysteriously" turning up dead is not lost on the reader. She tends to invent circumstances like Mother and the dentist. Still, the reader is just getting to know Maya and, as she matures, her childhood inconsistencies become more understandable.