I Know Why The Caged Bird Cannot Read Analysis

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Maya Angelou is a well-known author whose writings are used in ELA classrooms around the United States. Many fans of literature hold her writings in high regard. The article “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read” by Francine Prose is about Prose’s belief that American educators should not teach Angelou’s work to American students. Prose published the piece in 1999 in response to Angelou’s rising success and her writings being used to teach ELA. Prose believed that Maya Angelou’s work being used to teach literature was not necessary, as To Kill a Mockingbird was more than sufficient. The article’s purpose was to encourage educators to no longer use Angelou’s work to teach American children ELA. Prose does not make an effective argument because …show more content…

Her supporting claims are that Angelou’s writing is convoluted and nonsensical and that To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that efficiently accomplishes what educators are attempting to do with Angelou’s literature. The claims that she uses to support her main claim are claims of fact and value. It is made apparent that Prose finds Angelou’s writing convoluted and nonsensical when Prose writes, “If we want to use Angelou’s work to educate our kids, let’s invite them to parse her language, sentence by sentence; ask them precisely what it means and ask why one would bother obscuring ideas that could be expressed so much more simply and felicitously.” (Prose). This quote implies that American students could not easily analyze Angelou’s work and that her work could be written in less complex and confusing language. The claim that this quote makes is an example of a claim of value because it suggests that Angelou’s writing is too complex. This is an opinion, and it is based on Prose’s personal judgment. Prose assumes that everyone’s definition of complex writing is the same as hers and that all children could not easily analyze Angelou’s work. This quote is a weak supporting claim because it is based on assumptions. Prose’s other supporting argument is that To Kill a Mockingbird is the superior book used in American classrooms to teach ELA. This is shown …show more content…

In her writing, she uses a logical fallacy known as Ad Hominem when she writes, “Who seriously believes that murky, turgid, convoluted language of this sort constitutes good writing?” (Prose). This is the logical fallacy known as Ad Hominem because she does not argue against Angelou’s work with actual reasons; instead, she attacks Angelou’s writing with insults. Another logical fallacy she uses is False Equivalency, which is shown when she writes, “To hold up this book as a paradigm of memoir, of thought — of literature — is akin to inviting doctors convicted of malpractice to instruct our medical students.” (Prose). This is an example of a logical fallacy known as False Equivalence because Prose compares using Angelou’s memoir as an example of good literature to having a doctor convicted of malpractice to teach med students, two things that share no similarities and that are not at all relevant to each

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