Gender and racial trauma in Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

  • Ramesh Prasad Adhikary
Keywords: Race, Gender, Cultural trauma, Psychic turmoil, identity, self


This paper analyses racial and gender trauma evoking the tormented state of the narrator, Maya in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Based on the cultural trauma, the researcher analyses the experiences of depressed African American women without identities. The narrator struggles to develop her dignified self and nonconformist outlook comes to block her after she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend Mr. Freeeman. The mysterious murder of her rapist creates the guilt, shame in her psychic as she thinks that she is responsible for his murder. The narrator suffering from the guilt and self-loathing results in her psychic turmoil. She stops speaking to people except her brother, Bailey. In the novel, Angelou tries to raise the voice of Black women to achieve dignified identity in the white racist and sexist America looking back on her childhood experiences. In this regard, this research aims to show reasons that cause the traumatic situation in the narrator due to several events that erupt in African American societies. Not only this, this research work explores issues related to the cause of racial and gender trauma and discusses how the narrator succeeds in working through trauma while in some cases the narrator just acts out it.

Key Words: Race, Gender, Cultural trauma, Psychic turmoil, identity, self


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2227-5460
print ISSN: 2225-8604