i know why the caged bird sings character analysis

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Text Analysis: Characterization in Autobiography
When describing an important individual they have known, writers of autobiography often make use of the same methods of characterization as fiction writers do. These methods are listed in the following chart.

Directions: In the chart, write examples of each method of characterization Angelou used to reveal Mrs. Flowers’s personality traits. Then answer the question that follows. Methods of Characterization


Description of a person’s physical appearance

“She was thin without the taut look of wiry
people.” (line 7)

Examples of the person’s speech, thoughts, or

The speech, thoughts, or feelings of other

The narrator’s comments about the person

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". . . she smiled often. A slow widening of
her thin black lips to show even, small
white teeth . . . ”
“Words mean more than what is
set down on paper. It takes the human
voice to infuse them with the shades of
deeper meaning.” (lines 123–124)
“Another Negro woman of her health
and age would have been expected to carry
the paper sacks home in one hand, but
Momma said, ‘Sister Flowers, I’ll send Bailey up to your house with these things.’” (lines 61–63)
“She appealed to me because she was like
people I had never met personally.” (line

Unit 2
Grade 9


Reading Skill: Analyze Perspectives
Though autobiographies are written in first-person point of view, they often reflect two different perspectives.
• the perspective of the writer at the time he or she experienced the events • the perspective of the writer looking back on the events years later.

Directions: you read the selection, use the chart to record Angelou’s observations about Mrs. Flowers from both her childhood and adult perspectives. An example has been done for you. Observations about Mrs. Flowers

Child’s Viewpoint
Adult’s Viewpoint
“Why on earth did she insist on calling her “She was one of the few gentlewomen I...
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