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In Maya Angelous autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Mayas beautiful vivacious biological mother Vivian Baxter emerges as an important character in her daughters life Vivian endures as a black woman in a white mans world by displaying strength honesty and toughness which lead to self- preservation Vivian lives within the St Louis jazz society where blacks are faced with the hostility of the powerless against the powerful the poor against the rich the worker against the worked for and the ragged against the well- dressed Ms Angelou provides her readers with a vivid description of an unwilling mother thrust in and out of maternal situations during a thirteen-year span in which she survives as an entertainer in bars from St Louis to San Francisco Despite displaying character traits that may be interpreted as unmotherly Vivian Baxter is nevertheless a positive role model for her daughter Maya Vivian is a very self- centered human being who considers herself her number one priority Even so she never doubts her love for her children and mothers them in the only way she knows Vivian abandons her children Bailey and Maya when they are very young Written from the authors point of view the story does not reveal the specifics leading up to this abandonment The reader however can consider the circumstances surrounding a failed marriage of a Black couple during the Depression and understand Vivians inner conflict concerning sending her children away The audience concludes with the mother that the children will receive a more proper upbringing elsewhere Consequently Vivian allows her mother-in-law to provide Maya and Bailey with a stable home life and a mother figure The children grow and develop with Momma and are shocked to discover when Maya is six that their biological mother is still alive Maya cannot understand how her mother could have deserted her She says that no real mother would laugh and eat oranges in
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