I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Analysis

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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. The entire poem consists of various metaphors of racial segregation present in the society Angelou was born into. The caged bird symbolizes the oppression and suffering of people of color, whilst the free bird symbolizes the ideal society of freedom, a society lacking prejudice and discrimination. A society that, during the time in which Angelou struggled to thrive, was only available to those who were white. The caged bird 's song represents the sustaining hope of achieving this idealistic society in which all are treated with equal worth. The caged bird,
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