I didn’t find out more about my family’s history until later. There’s a wonderful part my father told me on my 21st birthday, after we were in Washington. There was a party at the Chinese embassy, and my father was going on and on with the Chinese ambassador; they were just talking and talking. And afterwards I said, “What were you talking about”? and he said, “We were talking about my father.” It turns out my grandfather, on my father’s side, helped to draft one of the first constitutions of China. He was a fairly well-known scholar.
In conclusion, this essay has discussed how Maya Angelou used the major characters of the book to facilitate its thematic development throughout the text. The development of the themes of identity, racial segregation and literacy in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings significantly depends on how major characters in the literary work are portrayed. For instance, major characters such as Maya, Momma, Bailey Johnson, and the larger black community have been used in a manner that facilitates thematic development in the literary work.
The message of the poem then is largely related to the emotional and psychological effects of being oppressed and removed from the possibility of self-determination. The means of oppression and delimitation are only given metaphorical explanation in the poem and are not connected to social or political realities outside of the poem. But the deeply felt difference between being powerfully free or being oppressed and caged is expressed in ways that closely mimic a more racially explicit stanza from Langston Hughes’ poem, “I look at the world.”