Hope, Rage, and Sacrifice
Oppression is an illness that has plagued the world for centuries. This is shown in “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou as the birds are trapped by oppression and the birds must break free from it. Maya Angelou and Paul Laurence Dunbar use the central symbols of the free bird and the caged bird to reveal the theme of oppression. The symbols of rage and hope accompany the theme oppression.
Hope is the main reason that the caged bird finds the strength to fight the engulfing oppression it was facing. For example, the character of the bird in, “Caged Bird” sings, hoping that his plea of freedom is heard by others, so that he can be free from the oppression that is binding him. The bird’s …show more content…
For instance, when the bird from “Sympathy” has hope that someone will hear its prayer that he has sent to Heaven. The prayer is described by Dunbar as, “It is not a carol of joy of glee,/ But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,/ But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings-” (Dunbar 18-20). The bird is representing the hope that it feels as it is singing with such passion, thinking and almost knowing that someone will hear it. The bird is hopeful to escape the brutality that is holding it. The oppression is binding the bird to its cage while the bird hopes and prays that someone will hear him so that he can leave this maiming tyranny. In addition in “Caged Bird” the bird is singing with mighty voice that was conceived by the rage that the bird felt toward the oppression that was trapping it. The tune that the bird sings is described as, “The caged bird sings,/ with a fearful trill,/ of things unknown”(Angelou, 30-32). The bird is illustrating the anger that it felt, by fighting the tyranny that he is facing. The tyranny is holding him down and the rage that the bird feels from this pain is what the bird symbolizes. All in all the bird representing hope and anger reveals the theme of oppression. In the final analysis, the symbols of hope and rage accompany the symbols of freedom and caged bird revealing the theme of oppression in the both of the poems. “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou shows how the bird injures itself, sings a in despair, and is able to fight the oppression that has trapped it. Oppression is not only a trap for one but torture for
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
During the Civil Rights movement, civil rights activists used many nonviolent methods to protest the existence of inequality. One method, as paradoxical as it may be considering King’s apparent aversion of hate and strain, was the creation of tension. In Martin Luther King Junior’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he wrote about his views on constructive tension and its role in forcing confrontation. Based on the given unjust situations, combined with the peaceful, nonviolent nature of the tension, King’s method is clearly agreeable.
In Timmy Reeds short story, “Birds and Other Things We Placed in Our Hearts,” there is a significant amount of imagery and symbolism through the authors use of style, characterization, and theme. The profound use of symbolism in the authors style of writing greatly captures the use of imagery throughout the story. The beginning sentence of the story reads, “As our chests hollowed out, we filled them with birds” (Reed). This beginning sentence is simply stating that the hearts of humans have withered away, leaving them feeling empty, and to fill that emptiness they filled their cavity with birds.
Waxen Wings is a story that talks about a main character named Birdie. Birdie’s life is not the ideal life, and it seems like she has failed at everything she has ever tried. This story really makes the reader feel bad for Birdie, and she is seen as the victim of the story. The tests that she goes through are things that would make most people give up, but she does not give up. That fact alone makes this story somewhat inspirational.
Susan Glaspell’s short story, “A Jury of Her Peers” is full of symbolism, which is portrayed through the bird in the story. The story takes place in a house that is set far back and is a lonely place. With the story being written in the 1920’s the attitude men have towards women is by far noticeable throughout the story with them being doubted or looked down upon. There is a murder scene that is being investigated with the wife of the murdered man as the number one suspect. The men in the story are looking in all the wrong places, where the women looked in the one spot to find the one clue that would close the entire case.
Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Tom ran for it even though he knew there were high risks of him being killed, which shows how the caged bird in the poem “Caged Bird” is much like him. In the poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, the caged bird is compared and contrasted to a free bird and by examining the circumstances of Tom Robinson’s life, I say that he is very much like the caged bird. For instance, in stanza two it’s stated “His wings are clipped and/ His feet are tied/ So he opens his throat to sing.”
Once again, Maya Angelou manages to touch our hearts again with her poetic skills in Chapter 19 titled The Champion of the World in her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She recalls a time in her life where the African American community gathered at her grandmother's and uncle's store to hear a boxing match via radio. The boxing match was between the former champion Joe Louis and a white boxer. Maya Angelou takes the meaning of a simple boxing match into something more complex; she demonstrates the suffrage of her people fighting against oppression during that time period.
In the book The Awakening by Kate Chopin, symbols play a big role in bringing out the theme of Edna Pontellier’s awakening. One specific symbol defines Edna’s journey which is the bird symbol. Edna, including all the women in her time are trapped by the constraints placed upon them by a male-dominant society. But Edna is the only one who decides to live life as she pleases following her whims and not living under someone’s demands. Edna represents the birds because she thinks she is free, but birds get trapped, just like how Edna gets trapped in having to follow social norms.
III. a. Maya Angelou was an avid writer, speaker, activist and teacher. As a result of the many hardships that she suffered while growing up as a poor black woman in the south she has used her own experiences as the subject matter of her written work. In doing this she effectively shows how she was able to overcome her personal obstacles. Her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) tells the story of her life and how she overcame and moved forward triumphantly in spite of her circumstances.
Maya Angelou recalls the first seventeen years of her life, discussing her unsettling childhood in her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya and Bailey were sent from California to the segregated South to live with their grandmother, Momma. At the age of eight, Maya went to stay with her mother in St. Louis, where she was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. Maya confronts these traumatic events of her childhood and explores the evolution of her own strong identity. Her individual and cultural feelings of displacement, caused by these incidents of sexual abuse, are mediated through her love for literature.
Angelou and Dunbar show similarities when they describe feeling trapped like caged birds, but their portrayal of the birds contrast in their actions
Caged Bird both share a very common theme; segregation, slavery, and imprisonment. According to the poem Sympathy, “Till its blood is red on the cruel bar… I know why he beats his wings.” And from the poem Caged Bird, “…His bars of rage…so he opens his throat to sing.” These quotes show that both birds are treated like slaves. The bird from Sympathy was shipped until the back is full of blood and the bird from Caged Bird was held in a dungeon where it will die.
You cannot appreciate the good if you do not experience the bad. However in the poem “Sympathy”, by Dunbar, you can visualize the darker side of hope seeing as he gives more insight in the hurting side of hope. Both the poems use the metaphor of a bird to visualize the overall meaning of the poem. Dunbar uses his bird as a metaphor for the lack of freedom and
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 poems “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, both portray captive birds that sing. However in “Sympathy”, the bird pleads with god for freedom, whereas in “Caged Bird” the captive bird calls for help from a free bird. In “Sympathy” the bird knows what freedom feels like since there was a time where the bird was once free, but now is trapped. In the first stanza the use of imagery revealed how freedom felt before the bird was caged.
The last line of the poem is “for the caged bird sings for freedom” (Angelou) this tells us that the caged bird yearns to be like the free bird. Angelou uses several descriptive images for the reader to be able to envision her words: bird, winds, floats and sky for freedom because the free bird has power, as “he soars in the sky” (Angelou) and clipped wings, tied feet and cage for confinement because the caged bird is oppressed as “caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown. ”(Angelou)