Sympathy And Caged Bird

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Opressing and enslaving other cultures that are extotic or foreign to the Untied States has been a large dark stain in the fabric of history of the Unites States that can never be washed away. This is most prevalent in the case of African-Americans who for almost a century were bought, sold and treated like property and their suffering can still be felt to this day. Although slaves were emancipated by the Emancipation Proclamation written by President Lincoln in 1869 they never got the equality that allowed them to live their lives equally up until the late 1960s. Many states were quick to pass oppressive and discriminatory laws called Jim Crow laws, which were designed to systematically oppress African-Americans people and to prevent them…show more content…
A recurring theme both poems is the fact that the birds in the cage (a juxtaposition of African-Americans at the time) often witness how the free birds enjoy their freedom and live life heedlessly having no idea how the caged bird feels and this causes much distress to caged birds. The author of “Sympathy”, Paul Laurence Dunbar states in his poem “When the sun is bright on the upland slope, when the wind stirs through the streaming grass, when the first bird sings and the first bud duds” Similarly Maya Angelou includes this quote in her poem “Caged Bird”, “The free birds leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream to the currents end and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky” In both poems the two poets explicate how the birds have the ability to glimpse outside of their cages and see the other birds. They witness the free bird experiencing this pulchritudinous, almost angelic places compared to the melancholy and the deplorable conditions that the caged bird enjoys. These circumstances are a metaphor for the lives that African-Americans faced and how caucasian people during the epoch of Jim…show more content…
Some of the greatest poems about racial inequality and its effect are “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou. Both of these poems are very well written and both of them share some key concepts contextually. For example both birds in their respective poems are able to see the other birds enjoying their freedom. Secondly they are both trapped in cages and are unable to be free and live out their lives without being hindered by the oppressive bars of the cage. Some differences include how the bird in “Sympathy” mutilates himself in an effort to free himself while the bird in “Cage Bird” simply sings for his freedom. Another difference is the fact that we can infer that the bird in caged bird has been entrapped all his life whilst the bird in “Sympathy” has not (as he is not fearful of the outside). Overall both poems are very good and are very meaningful but at the end the poem “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar is more meaningful because he includes many more chilling details about the bird and the conditions of the cage in which the bird spends all his
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