Chapter 10 Notes from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Chapter 10

Grandmother Baxter, their mother's mother, is almost completely white by blood, and looks completely white. She was raised by a German family and speaks with an accent. Mother's family is close-knit and happy. There is a lot of crime in St. Louis, and Grandmother Baxter has some control over it because of her connections with the police department. She pushes for leniency for criminals, and they bring votes to the candidates of her choice during election time.

In school, Marguerite and Bailey are shocked by the ignorance of their classmates and teachers. Bailey picks on the other boys, asking them academic questions, never afraid of a beating. They rarely see their mother in the house, but she has them meet her at a tavern sometimes. There, she is kind to them and dances in front of them, which is when Marguerite loves her most. Everyone likes her, and thinks she is beautiful. She and her brothers also have wild tempers: when someone curses at Mother, she and her brothers hunt him down and she beats him nearly to death. Nothing happens, because everyone is afraid of their family-their tempers and their political connections. They take pride in their closeness. They tell Marguerite the story of why she is nicknamed Maya: Bailey has always called her "My sister" instead of her name, and it was gradually shortened to "My," which turned into Maya. Maya particularly likes her Uncle Tommy, who tells her, "don't worry 'cause you ain't pretty...I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind." Chapter 10, pg. 66

After about six months of living with their grandparents, the children move into their mother's house. Maya does not see this as strange at all-she knows her life is different from that of most children her age, and she thinks no more about it. Bailey, smitten with his mother, calls her "Mother Dear" and finally "M'Deah." They are a little afraid of her, because she is so beautiful and because she can easily send them back to Stamps. Mother's boyfriend, Mr. Freeman, lives with them. He is older than Mother, and Maya knows he is lucky to have such a pretty, happy wife.

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