Thursday, April 21, 2011



The major problem of this study is how racial discrimination is reflected in the major character namely Marguerite Johnson in the novel Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing based on individual psychological approach. Therefore, the aims of this study are to analyze the structural elements of the novel and to analyze the novel based on individual psychology perspective. The researcher employs qualitative research method. In this method, the researcher uses two data resources, namely; primary and secondary data sources. The primary data source is the novel Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings itself. While, the secondary data source is the books about psychological, philosophy and the other sources related to the analysis. The method of data collection is library research and the technique of data collection is descriptive technique. Based on the social historical background of United States at the middle of twentieth century social discrimination happened between races, blacks and whites. The black people try to fight against racial discrimination to get social equality and integrity. The author wishes the integration both black and white in their social relation in society.

A. Background of Study
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a famous novel. It is written by
Maya Angelou in 1969. In 1970, it was published by Random House. This
novel is the first Angelou’s works of autobiographies. It consists of 239 pages
and thirty-six chapters. Angelou uses a woman as major character, named
Marguerite or Rita or Maya. Marguerite has kinky hair, black skin, small and
squinty eyes. She always tries to be brave, strong, clever and care of anybody
and society where she lives.
The story begins with the condition of Rita when she was three years
old. Marguerite Johnson, nicknamed Rita, is a product of broken home and as
a child is sent to live with her grandmother in depression era, Arkansas. Her
grandmother owns a large grocery and it is a solace for Maya to be a part of it.
When she is seven, Maya and Bailey, her brother, are sent to St. Louis to live,
with their mother. There, she is raped by mother’s boyfriend, and after this
trial he is lynched. Her brooding to much for the family to bear, and the two
children are sent back to the grandmother in Arkansas, where Maya begins to
realize how inferior blacks are considered to be.
After Bailey wits the brutal treatment of black corpse, their mother
takes them to live in California. For a time, Maya lives with her father in
South, then she joins her mother and Bailey in San Francisco.
One summer during their teen years, she vacations with her father in South and has a tight
with her father’s girlfriend. She runs away and lives briefly in an abandoned
Junkyard with homeless children. After returning she gets a job as the first
black conductor on the city Street-cars. During her first voluntary sexual
experience she become pregnant and gives birth to a son. She, whose feel
awkward, gains; a sense of which she is and learns how to make her way
would instead of opposing it.
In other hands, the public response is important to know how popular
the work is. Many people say that all of Maya Angelou’s work including
poets, dramas, and screenplays and novels, especially I Know Why the Cage
Bird Sings are great. Maya Angelou is something of a living legend in the
recent history of Black Americans. Barry Taylor and Sharon Taylor do not
accept most of the people belief.
They believe that the book is vulgar, poor literature and inappropriate
using by the public schools for young people of any ages. They argue that it
discussed rape, violence, and racism, some times in graphic terms, makes it
inappropriate (www.craftononline.com). I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
are included an autobiographical novel in which deals with racism.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a famous autobiographical novel.
Autobiographical novel is a novel within which use the facts or based on true
story. After being published, it was nominated for a National Book Award and
Maya Angelou called "Magnum Opus" because of this. In 1975, Angelou
received the Ladies Home Journal Woman of the Year Award in
Communications. She was appointed by President Carter to the Commission of
International Women’s year and is on the Board of Trustees of American Film
Institute. One of the few women members of Directors Guild, Maya Angelou
is author of the television screenplay I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Angelou’s I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings is an interesting novel. It
can be seen from the way Maya Angelou in combining the structural elements
to become a whole as a novel in order to help the reader to understand through
those structural elements. The structural elements include the character and
characterization, theme, plot, setting and style. This novel consists of four
major characters and twenty-two minor characters.
The minor characters support major characters so that the novel looks
alive. This novel also uses progressive plot (straight plot). Each event causes
the next event, so that it arranges orderly. The theme is clearly a political and
social criticism in America. It relates with the two settings that complete the
theme; settings of place are Arkansas, St. Louis, Missouri, California and
setting of time is 1930s.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography of Maya
Angelou’s life. This is the first from six autobiographies. The reader can
follow how the life of Maya Angelou seeing from her autobiography’s novels.
The reader also introduced the history of society of United States in 1930s.
On the other hand, Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the
controversial novel. Maya gathers two different worlds, Black and White.
Angelou is including a woman black novelist deals with racism.
Racial discrimination is the major case happened in this novel. Racism influences all
element of black’s life. It is institutionalized and seems overwhelming to black
so that one of major character tries to against it with her own way. This novel
inspired her to produce the other works including poems, drama, screen play
that deals with racism.
In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the writer can see social
mobility condition which happens to the main character. Based on the fact, the
writer tries to break down the problem in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings by using individual psychological approach. In this study,
the writer encourages to do a research entitled “MARGUERITE’S
B. Literature Review
The novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a popular literary
work. The theme brought makes the people are interested to know it. There are
many researchers that have studied this novel before. They are Mayrina
Susanti Puspitasari, a Sanata Dharma University’s student, with “The
Reflection of Maya Angelou’s Resistant Against Racism in I Know Why
the Caged Bird Sings: A Socio- Culture Historical Approach” and Yuni
Ariany, a student of Sanata Dharma University, with “Maya Angelou’s
Purpose of Writing Her Bibliography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:
Autobiography Approach.
The first researcher studied about the factors that bring the existence of
racism. Her finding shows that all of those factors that bring existence of
racism could not be wiped out as soon as possible until early twentieth
century. The factors are ancestral experience as a consequence of slavery,
black environmental and racial prejudice. She supported with the Angelou’s
resistance against racism and how she protest any kinds of practices of racism.
The second researcher concerned with the purposes of Maya Angelou
in writing her autobiography. The purposes of writing the autobiography
insisted that Angelou wants to make a confession toward the tragedy of rape
she faced, informs her protest against society around her and her family, and
makes the reader follow the story of her life by reading her phenomenal
autobiography continuously. She emphasized that Maya Angelou described
her difficult and hard life through her literary work.
Presently, the writer concerns with the racism happened in Maya
Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. He uses a individual
psychological perspective to analyze the novel.
C. Problem Statement
The problem of the research is “How is struggle against racial
discrimination reflected in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?”
D. Research Limitation
The researcher focuses his discussion on the Marguerite’s struggle
against the practices of racial discrimination in Maya Angelou’s I Know Why
the Caged Bird Sings by using individual psychological approach. This
approach is chosen because the writer wants to explore the individual
psychological of Marguerite.
E. Objectives of the Study
The objectives of study are as follows:
1. to describe the structural elements of the novel, and
2. to analyze the novel based on the individual psychological perspective.
F. Benefits of the Study
1. Theoretical Benefit:
It gives significant contribution to the larger body of knowledge
particularly in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
2. Practical Benefit:
It gives deeper understanding in literary field as the reference to the other
researchers in analyzing this novel with different perspective.
G. Research Method
1. Object of the Study
The object of the study is the novel of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,
written by Maya Angelou.
2. Type of the Study
This research paper uses qualitative research in the form of literary
work. Qualitative research is a type of research that does not use any
calculation or statistic procedure. Here, the writer does not include statistic
3. Type of the Data and Data Sources
Data in this research is text consisting of words, phrases, and
Data sources in this research are:
a. Primary data source is novel of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings, and
b. The secondary data are taken from some references and material
related to the study taken both by picking up from books and internet.
4. Technique of the Data Collection
Data collection is done through documentations or library research.
The steps to gain the data are as follows:
a. Reading novels rapidly,
b. Taking notes of information in both primary and secondary data,
c. Arranging the data in to several based on its classification, and
d. Developing of data provided
5. Technique of the Data Analysis
In this study, the technique that is used to analyze the data is
descriptive analysis through individual psychological approach.
H. Paper Organization
The research paper is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is the
introduction covering background of the study, literature review, problem
statement, limitation of the study, objective of study, benefit of study,
research method, and paper organization. Chapter two is the underlying
theory, namely; the individual psychology by Alfred Adler. Chapter three is
the structural analysis. Chapter four discusses the individual psychology
analysis. Finally, chapter five is the conclusion and suggestion.

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