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Notes on Objects & Places from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Objects/Places

Stamps, Arkansas: The small town where Maya grows up. She loves her neighbors for the comfort they provide and the strength they find in religion and community, but she also hates their sometimes ignorant, self-hating ways. Also, though the town is sharply segregated, Maya has the constant sense that white people could easily invade the black part of town, doing whatever they like to her largely powerless community. She never really feels safe in Stamps, and she often feels too smart for it: it is a cotton field town, and Maya was born with ambition and intelligence in equal measure.

The Store: Momma's general store. The place represents Momma's power (she is one of the wealthier black people in town, and her store is essentially a commercial center). It is also one of the few places Maya enjoys: she loves the smells, and the bustle, and all the delicious products they sell.

The junkyard: In the junkyard, for the first time, Maya is independent and surrounded by friendly people of all races. She learns a lot about friendship, tolerance, and self-reliance in the short month she is there.

The Well of Loneliness: A very famous lesbian novel. Maya reads it several times, intellectually curious but very innocent. Impressionable and unsure of herself, she begins to worry that she is a pervert.

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