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Free Study Guide-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou-Summary
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Chapter 31

Summary

When Daddy Bailey returns home, Dolores is furious. She tells him that Maya is coming between them. Daddy Bailey laughs at her and walks out, saying Maya was right in calling her "pretentious."

Maya tries to reassure Dolores, but Dolores is so angry that she turns on Maya. She tells the girl to go back to her "whore" mother. Angered by the comment, Maya slaps Dolores, who then stabs Maya with a pair of scissors and chases her outside with a hammer. To protect herself, Maya jumps in Daddy Bailey’s car. Daddy Bailey comes out of a neighbor’s house to see what the commotion is about. He takes Dolores back into the house and then comes out to find Maya. When he realizes that his daughter is hurt, he takes Maya her to his friend’s house, where her wound is dressed. He then makes arrangements for her to stay at a friend’s trailer. Maya spends the night recuperating. The next day, with the uncertainty of her future weighing on her mind, she walks out of the trailer without telling anyone.

Notes

Bailey again fails as a father and boyfriend in this chapter. When Dolores tells him that Maya is coming between the two of them, Bailey laughs at the thought and walks out to a neighbor’s house without a word. Infuriated at his behavior, Dolores turns on Maya, telling her to go back and live with her "whore" mother. Upset by the slanderous name, Maya slaps Dolores, who retaliates by stabbing Maya with a pair of scissors and chasing her out of the house. Maya hides in the car for protection.


When Daddy Bailey hears the commotion, he comes out to see what is going on. Quickly assessing the situation, he takes Dolores back inside and then goes to check on Maya in the car. When he sees she is hurt, he does not get her medical attention; instead, he takes her to the house of his friend, where her wound is dressed. . Maya reasons that her dad, who is always so concerned with appearances, was unwilling to let anyone know about his girlfriend's act of violence.

Instead of trying to comfort Maya, Bailey sends his wounded daughter to the trailer of a friend to spend the night. Maya is so outraged over the whole incident that she decides she must depart from the lives of Daddy Bailey and Dolores. Without knowing where she is headed, she simply packs her bag and leaves. After her dare devil act of driving the car in Mexico, Maya feels confident in her ability to handle anything that might come up.

It is obvious that the encounter with Dolores has stirred up old memories for Maya. She thinks about how she was hurt in the past by Mr. Freeman. She is also afraid to tell anyone about the cruelty of Dolores, for she fears that she might be murdered, like Freeman, and she does not want another death on her conscience.

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