Chapter 1 Notes from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Chapter 1

When Marguerite was three and her brother Bailey was four, their parents put them on a train in California and sent them to Stamps to live with their father's mother. Marguerite doesn't remember much of the trip, but she knows that other "Negroes" on the train were kind to them. They live with Momma and her son, Uncle Willie at the Store The Store, which Momma has owned and run for twenty-five years, is in many ways the center of activity in the black part of town. People use it as a gathering place, and it provides all kinds of supplies to farmers. Each morning, Momma gets up very early and prays earnestly, then calls her household to work. Marguerite enjoys listening to the black farmers chatting in the morning: they are full of energy and competitive spirit. Each one says he will pick more cotton than the next. In the early morning, the Store feels almost ghostly. But in the evening, reality sets in heavily: everyone is dead tired, and depressed. They are overworked and terribly poor and they get no rest or relief. Later in life, Marguerite will bitterly remember these scenes when she confronts images of happy, carefree cotton pickers.

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