Example research essay topic: I Know Why The Cage Birds Sing – 1,191 words

– Stamps, Arkansas, in a black ghetto neighborhood
where Maya lives with her grandmother and
paralyzed uncle – St. Louis, San Francisco, a
junkyard, and Southern California; A brief
incident takes place across the border in Mexico –
starting from 1930s to mid-late 1900s, she was
born in 1928 2) Character I 1: Primary Characters
– Maya a black girl with nappy black hair, broad
feet, and a space between her teeth; the narrator
of the book; the novels based on her growing up. –
Bailey Johnson (Junior) – Mayas older brother and
a major person her life; he gives her advice, hes
good looking, intelligent, and mischievous; he
loves his mother. – Momma Henderson – Mayas
grandmother, she owns a black general store in
Stamps; Maya and Bailey come to live with her when
their parents get a divorce; Momma is the only
black female entrepreneur in town. She is devoted
to her religion. – Vivian “Bibbie” Baxter – Maya
and Baileys mother; a beautiful, smart, and
willful lady; She is a trained nurse, but also
makes a lot of money playing poker games in
gambling parlors.

– Daddy Bailey – Maya and
Baileys father; he is a vain, selfish, and
conceited man, who is not a good father. 3)
Character I 2: Secondary Characters – Grandmother
Baxter – the childrens nearly white grandmother;
she is a precinct leader – Grandfather Baxter –
dies a few years after Maya returns to Stamps –
Uncle Willie – Maya and Baileys uncle; he lives
with Momma Henderson; paralyzed since he was three
– Dolores Stockland – Daddy Baileys girlfriend;
she is jealous of Maya and attacks her – Mrs.
Bertha Flowers – Mommas sophisticated friend who
helps Maya – Mr. Freeman – a past boyfriend of
Vivians; he rapes Maya and is killed by her uncles
– Tom, Tutti, Ira & Billy – Vivians brothers; they
are tough; they beat Freeman to death after he
rapes Maya – Daddy Clidell – married to Vivian;
poorly educated property owner; Mayas closest
father head figure – Viola Cullinan – Mayas first
employer, a barren white woman; her husband has
two children with a black mistress; Maya hates her
because she changes her name just for her
convenience – Joyce – seduces Bailey and breaks
his heart by running away with a railway porter –
Tommy Valdon – Mayas first admirer – Louise
Kendricks – Mayas first real friend – Bootsie
-leader of the junkyard community which Maya is a
part of after running away As a child, Maya had to
live with her grandmother because of her parents
divorce. After a long period of not hearing from
her parents she neglects the fact that they even
live. When they come back in her life, she doesnt
get along with them. Because of this she never
really feels accepted by anyone.

As Maya grew in
age she suffered a lot of emotional damage due to
her opposing views and unfortunate events while
she was growing up. She was abandoned by her
parents, raped at the age of eight by her mothers
boyfriend, living during a war, and being a black
girl. – Maya and Bailey are sent to live with
their grandmother Annie Henderson and her son
Willie in Stamps, Arkansas. – Momma Henderson sold
lunches to the cotton laborers before they began
their grueling work to be underpaid. People who
stereotyped the cotton pickers as being happy and
cheerful always enraged Maya. – While black men
had a very difficult time supporting themselves,
Willie was paralyzed He tired to hide his handicap
in front of two strangers, when Maya saw this it
made her feel closer to him.

– The white former
sheriff Mr. Stewart came to warn Momma that some
white people were enraged because a black man
messed with a white woman. Momma hid Willie in the
potato and onion bins because they might take
their anger out on him, luckily that was not the
case. – While Maya was insulted for her
appearance, Bailey was always complimented. Bailey
always protected her from the offending person. –
Three poor white children mocked came into Mommas
store and mocked her stance and gestures.

One of
the older girls did a handstand and showed that
she wore no underwear. Momma did nothing but hum.
Maya realized that she had done a good thing. –
Reverend Howard Thomas visits Stamps every three
months and stays with Momma on Saturdays and
delivers a sermon on Sunday. Maya and Bailey dont
like him because he eats better than them at
dinner. – Sister Monroe got overexcited in church
and ruined Reverend Taylor’s suit while shouting
“Preach it.” Maya and Bailey found it hilarious
until Willie gave them a whipping. – On Christmas,
Maya and Bailey’s parents sent them presents.

children went outside to cry, wondering why they
were sent away. Momma thought they were being
ungrateful. Later they destroyed the blond, blue-
eye China doll their mother sent her. – Big
Bailey, the children’s father visited Stamps. Maya
was surprised how big he was, how handsome he was,
him owning a car, and how he spoke like a white.
He drove them to St. Louis to see their mother,

She seemed depressed. Her beauty surprised
Maya too. Bailey resembled her in physical beauty
and personality and is able to talk to his father
well. He left three days later but Maya was not to
upset because he was like a stranger. –
Grandmother Baxter was like a white person.
Germans raised her. St.

Louis was in the prime of
Prohibition. Bailey and Maya met underground
organized crime figures. Grandmother Baxter
entertained these men. – Vivian’s brothers had
city jobs and had a bad reputation. They fought
both whites and black. Bailey and Maya lived with
their grandparents for six months before moving in
with Vivian and her boyfriend, Mr.

Freeman. –
Vivian worked in a gambling parlor. Mr. Freeman
always waited for her to come home at night. One
day after Vivian had left the house, Mr. Freeman
molested Maya.

He threatened to kill Bailey if she
told anyone. He avoided her for weeks before he
did it again and ignored her for weeks after that.
– Maya began to read a lot of books and started
wishing she was a boy because her heroes from the
books she read were all boys. – After Maya
returned from buying milk, Mr. Freeman raped her
and threatened to kill her if she screamed and
kill Bailey if she told anyone. After suffering
intense pain, Maya went home from the library that
she was sent to by Mr. Freeman.

She hid her
underwear under her mattress. Mr. Freeman left the
next mourning. Bailey found the panties under the
mattress. – Maya named the rapist as Mr. Freeman
in the hospital and he was arrested.

After a
hearing, Mr. Freeman was sentenced to one year.
Bailey and Angelou moved back with Grandmother
Baxter. A policeman later told Grandmother Baxter
that Mr. Freeman was beaten to death. – Mrs.
Flowers broke Mayas silence from school by
offering her books to read under the condition
that shed ….

Research essay sample on I Know Why The Cage Birds Sing