Synopses & Reviews
Superbly told, with the poet's gift for language and observation, Angelou's autobiography of her childhood in Arkansas - a world of which most Americans are ignorant.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Maya Angelou s classic memoirs have had an enduring impact on American literature and culture. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS s American Masters.
This Modern Library edition contains I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin and Swingin and Gettin Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God s Children Need Traveling Shoes, and A Song Flung Up to Heaven.
When I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to widespread acclaim in 1969, Maya Angelou garnered the attention of an international audience with the triumphs and tragedies of her childhood in the American South. This soul-baring memoir launched a six-book epic spanning the sweep of the author s incredible life. Now, for the first time, all six celebrated and bestselling autobiographies are available in this handsome one-volume edition.
Dedicated fans and newcomers alike can follow the continually absorbing chronicle of Angelou s life: her formative childhood in Stamps, Arkansas; the birth of her son, Guy, at the end of World War II; her adventures traveling abroad with the famed cast of Porgy and Bess; her experience living in a black expatriate colony in Ghana; her intense involvement with the civil rights movement, including her association with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X; and, finally, the beginning of her writing career.
The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou traces the best and worst of the American experience in an achingly personal way. Angelou has chronicled her remarkable journey and inspired people of every generation and nationality to embrace life with commitment and passion."
About the Author
1. The memoir opens with a provocative refrain: "What you looking at me for? I didn't come to stay ... "
What do you think this passage says about Ritie's sense of herself? How does she feel about her place in the world? How does she keep her identity intact?
2. Upon seeing her mother for the first time after years of separation, Ritie describes her as "a hurricane in its perfect power." What do you think about Ritie's relationship with her mother? How does it compare to her relationship with her grandmother, "Momma"?
3. The author writes, "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." What do you make of the author's portrayal of race? How do Ritie and her family cope with the racial tension that permeates their lives?
4. Throughout the book, Ritie struggles with feelings that she is "bad" and "sinful," as her thoughts echo the admonitions of her strict religious upbringing. What does she learn at the end of the memoir about right and wrong?
5. What is the significance of the title as it relates to Ritie's self-imposed muteness?