Relationships In Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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Throughout Maya Angelou’s autobiographical series, we get to know a lot about the relationships she gets involved in throughout her life. As the reader, some of her relationships made you want to yell at your book, but in some cases, you rooted for the both of them because you hoped she would find love. Over the course of the books, you learn why her relationships failed and how they influenced her and her decisions later on in life. Although you learn early on how independent Maya is, you see her with a variety of men in her life: some for pleasure and others who she really cared for. For example, Maya’s marriage with Tosh was something she didn’t expect to happen or was necessarily looking for, but this failed relationship made a crucial impact on her which led her to the successful life she had later on.
Since Maya was little, she was cautious about love and just the word itself made her anxious. In “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” she tells the story of receiving a Valentine’s Day card from a boy named Tommy Valdon. When
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She describes her home as an “Eden of constant spring” and at this point, Tosh becomes an influential father figure to Clyde. He showed him how to play sports and Clyde even starts to call him “Daddy.” It was almost as if she was living a picturesque life, as she said her life began to resemble a Good Housekeeping advertisement. However, Maya starts to realize the flaws in the perfection. She loses grasp on her independence and feels a sense of guilt for doing anything she loves. The toxicity of the relationship isn’t apparent at first, but once it creeps up, it’s hard to ignore. When Tosh exclaims that he was tired of being married, Maya was shocked that it came out of nowhere, but after a year of being divorced she says, “[she] was a saner, healthier person than the young, greedy girl who wanted a man to belong to and a life based on a Hollywood film, circa 1940”

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