“Caged Bird” written by Maya Angelou in 1968 announces to the world her frustration of racial inequality and the longing for freedom. She seeks to create sentiment in the reader toward the caged bird plight, and draw compassion for the imprisoned creature. (Davis)
Throughout the story, birds were a recurring motif. They symbolize numerous things in varied novels. In this novel in particular, birds symbolize freedom and the possibility of escape. While citizens are restricted from venturing outside government borders, the birds can fly wherever they please. Lena was forced to break numerous laws and risk everything she had in order to enter “The Wilds”.
Life is a journey that is challenging for many people. As a result, many do not live up to their full potential. Nevertheless, there are always few distinguished people in every generation who master the art of living better than everyone else. Such individuals emerge as icons of the society and leave phenomenal legacies. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Maya Angelou are outstanding souls who made their communities and the world a better place. Undoubtedly, having paramount courage and undying love for the human race are the two virtues that anyone aspiring to live a life of purpose must have.
In two poems “Sympathy” written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Caged Bird” written by Maya Angelou talk about a poor bird that is trapped in a cage and wants to be free. It longs for everything that the free bird has but it cannot achieve it. In both of the poems, there is a use of comparisons between freedom and nature. It is also interpreted from the poems that the use of a song is a form of coping for the birds. Both of the birds sing for their freedom and sing through their pain.
In the two poems Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Caged Bird by Maya Angelou, gave a comparison between the life of a caged bird and the life of a slave. There are similarities and differences in the two poems. The difference between the two poem is that Sympathy is more aggressive than the poem Caged Bird, and the similarities of the two poems is the theme and imagery.
“A Caged Bird” is a poem by Maya Angelou, that describes the struggle of a bird ascending from the restrictions with adverse surroundings. The poem renders the oppression that has affected African Americans over the years. As Angelou explains, the bird fights its imprisonment even with fear, but rises above with the stance of freedom. “Phenomenal Women” by Maya Angelou discusses beauty being in the eye of the beholder. You don’t have to have a perfect physique or focus entirely on outer beauty. Inner beauty has more definition, she explains that women should appreciate their flaws. After all there is only one of you and everyone was created differently.
Hunter and the caged bird have an external figure that holds them from accomplishing their goals as well as keeping them from their freedom. However, the audience can also envision Ms. Hunter relating to a free bird because of the fact that she steps out of her comfort zones which only true free birds are able to accomplish. This allows the reader to develop a valuable lesson that allows them to realise that one should always aim for their highest and if one is to fail, you can hit a bigger, more impactful objective! Both Ms. Hunter and the caged bird are put into a position where their true intent, their progress, and their sake of advancement is tested based upon their ability to go above and beyond: to reach for the stars. “I know what the caged bird feels.../ when the sun is bright on the upland slopes; /… and the river flows like a stream of glass; / when the first bird sings and the first bus opes, /…
By definition, freedom is essentially the right to choose ;by action, it is something wanted but not always achieved .Freedom is the oxygen of the soul (Mashe Dayon ) and it seems to be feigned for and more important to those whom freedom is denied. This is shown in both literary works”The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass “and “Why the Caged Bird Sings”. From both of Frederick Douglass and Maya Angelou’s writing it(freedom) is important and longed for ,but how the depravity of it affects the enslaved is where Douglass and Angelou deviate from their similarities.
If the prisoner lowers his arms, the Bird told him, hit him with your gun. The Bird walked to a nearby shack, climbed on the roof, and settled in to watch. Louie stood in the sun, holding up the beam. The Bird stretched over the roof like a contented cat,calling to the Japanese who walked by, pointing to Louie and laughing. Louie locked his eyes on the Bird’s face, radiating hatred.
The world is no stranger to oppression. Madness driven from an inferiority complex based on racial stigma. Prohibition of freedom being yet another way to inflate this expanding social divide between the oppressors and the oppressed, between white and black. Within the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, this concept of social division due to the desire of freedom and the desire to restrict the freedom of others is explored through the implementation of a variety of literary devices: symbolism, metaphors, sudden tone shifts, and a constant underlying allegory. Driven by her own experiences being raised during a time period where segregation and racism were acceptable behavior amongst the masses, Angelou illustrates this problematic normalization of discrimination through the juxtaposition of a free bird to a caged bird to convey the theme of oppression and the hope of freedom brought on by such.
Huda Paracha 812 To Kill A Mockingbird And Caged Birds “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated. ”- Maya Angelou Have you ever had any emotional or physical struggles in your life that sometimes made you feel as if though you were caged and unable to achieve your goal?
The narrator is aghast when he realizes that the bird can speak. The narrator, both confused and amazed, starts showering the ebony bird with questions. His confusion only grows stronger when he realizes that the bird has only one reply for, Nevermore that he keeps on repeating. The poems major themes are death and sorrow and the nature of the
Angelou and Dunbar show similarities when they describe feeling trapped like caged birds, but their portrayal of the birds contrast in their actions
The bird is interpreted as the symbol of the African-American people, beating their metaphorical wings against their past cages of slavery, and the current cage of segregation and discrimination. Dunbar highlights this notion, declaring, “I know why the caged bird sings, ah me, / When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore, - / When he beats his bars and he would be free; / It is not a carol of joy or glee” (Dunbar, “Sympathy” 555). Dunbar addresses the fact that he is able to relate to this bird, and mentions the fact that the bird wishes it could be free; much like the African-Americans wished they could be free from discrimination at the time, while the bruises on the bird’s wings and body symbolize the mental abuse being enforced. Dunbar uses his poem to lay the groundwork for future forms of African-American literature by perpetrating the desire for freedom and equality.
A Bird’s Eye View Emily Dickinson opens up her poem with the famous line, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words,’’. Paul Laurence Dunbar ends his poem with the line “I know why the caged bird sings!”. These two lines from the poets form the theme of the two poems. The poem “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson, and “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar both present a theme that suffering makes you appreciate hope much more. It seems that hope and pain are almost a dynamic duo.