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Maya Angelou's autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, should
not be removed from school curriculum, especially at the high school
level. My opponent and others like him may refer to this brilliantly
written account of a great woman's life as ‘pornographic'. It is true
that the autobiography has been removed from the studies of at least one
school. However, the book's paltry ‘controversial' content is completely
overpowered by it's true message of triumph over animosity. And the
scintillating, palpable language Angelou uses to convey her story is
certainly not an enigma to readers. Critics from across the United
States have agreed with both of these opinions. One review company raves
that,

"Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and
she has written and exceptional autobiographical narrative...a beautiful
book-an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time."

It would appear that this company has practically declared Maya
Angelou's work a classic. Is this not appropriate for a high school
setting?

 A critic from Newsweek states that Angelou's book, "regularly throws
out rich, dazzling images which delight and surprise with their
simplicity." However there is most certainly more to this book than
excellent language. In this autobiography, you will find a young girl's
struggle to beat inequity, to taste freedom, to be viewed as an equal.
You will find the story of suffering and grief. You will find the story
of s struggle, an inspirational struggle, which carried Maya Angelou to
the mountain she stands upon today. The same affluent reviewer
concludes,

"...Miss Angelou's book is more than a tour de force of language and the
story of childhood suffering: it quietly and gracefully portrays and
pays tribute to the courage, dignity and endurance of the small, rural
community in which she spent most of her early years... one has to read
it [the book] to appreciate it's sensitivity and life."

A true account that pays tribute to courage, dignity and endurance? More
than just a story of childhood calamity? Sensitivity? Life? Does this
book sound like filth to you? Is this book, this ‘horrible, awful,
unspeakable' book soud like what we should really be protecting young
adults from? The idea is ludicrous.

 Maya Angelou's autobiography depicts the minorities onerous struggle to
survive in a lurid world of prejudice. Maya gracefully eludes sexism,
racism and her other childhood problems. Maya learns that by infusing
the power of language into her character, she can escape her world of
aversion. Maya discovered power in herself and developed inner strength.

 The ‘controversial' parts of this book are not even required reading,
at least in Niskayuna and most likely everywhere else as well. No one is
forced into any in depth discussions regarding the explicit details of
Maya's rape. Also, keep in mind, this part and the rest of the book is
depicted and seen through the eyes of a benign young girl barely able to
comprehend her situation. The excellent way the school systems handle
this type of book should not raise any brouhaha whatsoever. I believe
protective parents should worry more about what their children watch on
television, if anything, rather than worry about this account.

 I'm sure that once you see the facts revealed in the coming debate, you
will incur my the opinion I am defending. Please do not make any
perfunctory decisions, look at the entire issue and the entire book.
Thank you.