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Free Study Guide-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou-Summary
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Chapter 30

Summary

Maya is invited to Southern California to spend the summer with Daddy Bailey. His girlfriend, Dolores, starts corresponding with Maya a few months prior to her arrival and meets her at the station. Both Maya and Dolores are shocked to see each other. Maya had expected Dolores to be a woman her father’s age, but she is very young--not much older than Maya. Dolores is shocked to see Maya as well, for Daddy Bailey had told her that his children were younger than ten. Maya is fifteen and nearly six feet tall.

Maya lives with Daddy Bailey and Dolores in a trailer park. The fastidious Dolores is a stickler for details, and Maya seems to constantly disrupt her routine. Daddy Bailey seems to enjoy the tension between his young girlfriend and his daughter.

One day Daddy Bailey asks Maya to go with him to Mexico. He says she can practice her Spanish on the trip. On the way Daddy Bailey stops for a drink. Loosened by the alcohol, he jokingly asks a guard at the border if he would like to marry Maya. At another cantina, Daddy Bailey disappears for a while, and Maya wonders if she has been sold as a black-market bride. When Daddy Bailey finally returns, he is incredibly drunk and passes out in the back seat. Maya, not wanting to spend the night in the car, decides to drive, even though she does not know how. At the border, she hits another car. As the border guards are about to call the police, Daddy Bailey wakes up and settles everything with ease. He and Maya return home without further incident.


Notes

Daddy Bailey’s insensitivities and inabilities as a father and a boyfriend are very obvious in this chapter. He invites Maya to come to southern California to stay with him, but after she arrives, he continually pits her against Dolores, his young girlfriend. Knowing that Dolores is jealous, Daddy Bailey takes Maya with him to Mexico, leaving Dolores behind to wonder and worry.

Daddy Bailey’s behavior toward Maya at the border is terrible. He jokingly offers the fifteen-year-old Maya to the border guard, who has been staring at her with pleasure. He then disappears into a cantina to have a few more drinks, leaving Maya alone and frightened. When he finally returns, Daddy Bailey is so drunk that he passes out in the car. Maya takes control and musters the courage to drive the automobile, even thought she has no idea what to do. Not surprisingly, she hits another car; but Daddy Bailey awakes to save the day..

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