I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiographical account about Maya Angelou's challenging life and encounter of an American society at a crucial period, a time of adjustment. Both as a woman and black person, she is confronted to many difficulties and is victim of racial segregation. This belongs to the main theme of the novel, Maya's fight to endure and break through in an intricate and harsh world. At a very young age, Maya is sent to live with her grandmother in Stamps, where racism exists in all its forms. Maya sees herself as ugly and a rejection of society, especially when she meets her beautiful mother, Vivian. She goes to live with her in California, starting a new phase in her young callous life. She gets raped at the age of eight by her mother's friend Mr. Freeman, which lead her in a state of shame causing her to fall in an emotional self-destructive pattern. When visiting her father, she faces Dolores, her father's girlfriend, with which she gets stabbed with scissors after a quarrel, which makes Maya run away living on her own. On top of all these problems, she is faces in disgust racism, a degrading phenomenon for our "developed" society. Since she lived in Stamps, she witnessed and was victim of racist assaults. When she had an awful tooth ache, the only dentist in town, who was white, refused to treat her, claiming that he preferred to put his hand in a dog's mouth rather than in a niggers mouth. Maya felt tremendous difficulties in finding her independence and gaining self-esteem in a society that makes things complicated for her. Maya Angelou compares herself as a caged bird, one that always sings, although it is trapped in a caged. The cage would be our ruthless society and the bird victims of our evil human nature. At the end of the book, Maya difficultly gets to be the first black streetcar conductor after hard work, and gives birth to a boy, a pure unbounded expression of joy.