Names In Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird

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Names are a powerful thing, they always have been and always will be. Names can cause many types of emotions, anger, hate, happiness, confusion, and a number of other ones. In Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings there are a lot of names and nicknames that people have. These nicknames, though sometimes inappropriate and infuriating, are an important part of this novel. Marguerite Johnson, a.k.a Maya, is the main character in this novel and during the story she is given a few nicknames. The nickname “Maya” for example was given to her by her brother Bailey Jr.. When Bailey was younger he could not pronounce Marguerite’s name so he said “Mya sister” which later turned into “My” and then to “Maya,” They explained this to Maya when they were reminiscing about the children when they were younger (68). Another nickname Maya had in the novel was “Mary.” She obtained this name when she had a job with Mrs. Cullinan. When Mrs. Cullinan had a few other women over they were on the topic of Marguerite one of the women said,” Well that may be, but the name’s too long. I’d never bother myself. I’d call her Mary if i was you” (107). Maya hated this name so much that she broke some of Mrs. Cullinan’s finest china, just so she could get fired.…show more content…
She practically raises both Bailey and Marguerite. The nickname “Momma” is very unusual for a grandmother. It shows how much of a mother figure she is to Bailey and Marguerite and to pretty much everyone in Stamps. This shows through everything she does. When the town was going through the depression she made trade available and kept her shop alive and in turn her family and the town survived. Even when she spanks the children it is only to teach them a lesson. Though she can be very strict, Mrs. Henderson cares very deeply for the children and her family in

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