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Analysis and comments on I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

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Comment 73 of 313, added on November 30th, 2005 at 9:42 PM.

Maya Angelou’s touching poem revolves around the theme of freedom.
Throughout history slavery and racisms has been one of the largest issues
during the course of time and the word freedom has had so many impacts in
the negro society dating back to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s magnificent
speech, “I Have A Dream.” On the subject of freedom Maya Angelou
impressively uses effective metaphors, choice words that resemble her
people, themes, diction, rhythm scheme, imagery, and paradoxes that bring
out within Maya and the reader feelings that represent thriving anger and
injustice. Justification implied in the title demonstration how the
speaker, the poet, can feel what her people went through when slavery was
around.
In the first stanza, Maya Angelou uses imagery to show display to the
reader how the soul is so alive and filled with excitement when it is free
and unbounded from impulsiveness. Angelou uses imageries that are so strong
to invoke such thoughts of being imprisoned come across the spirit of the
unbounded bird. “Leaps on the back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the
orange sun rays” enrich the readers senses to reflect on thought of being
so free and alive. The choice of words that Angelou uses reflect that
simple natural elements of nature represent a visual play ground for the
bird. The reader imagines an energetic bird flying so high into the sky
where he has reached the furthest and no longer can fly anymore; a bird
living life to the fullest and have that great choice to guide himself
where ever he wants to. These word that are transcribed by Maya give the
reader a colorful feeling of happiness.

Elsa from United States
Comment 72 of 313, added on November 29th, 2005 at 5:40 PM.

this poeme really got to me it how i felt alot growing up still do at times
.i have autism so it like being lock in your own body .i cant all ways
verbly let out how much i know and understand .that why i like this poeme

stefanie from United States
Comment 71 of 313, added on November 29th, 2005 at 10:47 AM.

ur poems are good there inspirational

shoe from United States
Comment 70 of 313, added on November 27th, 2005 at 7:24 PM.

this poem is in fact the best one i ever read in my 17 years of life and
its just good. this poem to me means that maya once felt like a Caged bird
that she would always cry and feel trapped but indeed kept her dreams still
alive and ready to pursue in which when she got older she became a freed
bird singing and her dreams were really pursued

ana from United States
Comment 69 of 313, added on November 20th, 2005 at 5:00 PM.

Paul Laurence Dunbar did indeed write a poem entitled "Sympathy" which can
be read on this website at
http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Paul-Laurence-Dunbar/15528. It is a
different poem from Maya Angelou's poem "Caged Bird."

Cheryl from United States
Comment 68 of 313, added on November 18th, 2005 at 11:33 AM.

Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote the poem "Sympathy" in 1896, not Maya Angelou.
She used the poem's first line "I know why the caged bird sings" as the
title of her autobiography. Please give credit where credit is due!

Mary Marsh from United States
Comment 67 of 313, added on November 14th, 2005 at 1:05 PM.

this poem by far is the best of
maya angelou.
becuase it makes you think.
well, at least it made me think.

ayada from United States
Comment 66 of 313, added on November 10th, 2005 at 2:05 AM.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is a poignant poem that
revolves around the theme of freedom. Maya Angelou masterfully uses
paradoxes, choice words and elements of rhyming and rhythm, to bring out
within us feelings of sympathy, anger and a large sense of unjust.

In the first stanza, the poet uses imageries that are near astonishing to
invoke within us images of unbounded freedom and spontaneity. “Leaps on the
back of the wind” and “dips his wings in the orange sun rays” delightfully
enraptures our senses. Nature and its elements are portrayed as the
playground for the bird. We imagine a bird high in the sky, flying where he
wants to, and having a time of his life. We are transcribed through the
poet’s choice of words into this feeling of wonder and joy.
However, in the next stanza, we are met with a stark contrast to the
previous imageries formed. The words “narrow cage”, “bars of rage” and
“wings are clipped” evokes a feeling of dread and horror. What makes these
feelings more immense in magnitude is the fact that this is such a paradox
from the happy imageries formed in the first stanza. Because of this
horrible contrast, I feel so much sympathy for this caged bird. The fact
that life has drawn him a cruel lot as compared to the free bird makes his
fate indescribably pitiful. I as the reader cannot help but feel a sense of
indignant and unjust as well - Why is life so impartial and so unfair?

Not only does this sharp paradox weave out these feelings from me, the
choice of words further amplifies my sadness in this tale of injustice.
“Grave of dreams” creates a thudding sense of sorrow in me because through
this imagery of dreams in graves, we are transcribed into a gloomy and
empty world. This is because the words echo the finality of captivity as
well as the impossibility for a better tomorrow. What then heightens this
sense of tragic, is the fact that the caged bird still sings - “The caged
bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still”. We
see the futility of it all, and yet we are immensely moved into feelings of
strong empathy and grief. The caged bird has been cast into a wretched,
inescapable lot yet his dreams are still there, no matter how tenuous and
impossible. In a way, we are also made to feel a sense of awe, amidst these
feelings of despondency and hopelessness, with the birds determination even
in the face of impossibility.

This feeling of saddened awe is intensified by the alliteration found in
the poem. The repetition and persistence of the letter “s” in “shadows
shouts on a nightmare scream” has the effect of creating a sense of steely
determination that does not weaken, despite the circumstances.

However, the rhyming of this poem has to be the most inspiring device that
the poet uses to fully evoke a contrasting feeling of hope. Each stanza
follows the rhyming scheme of AAAB (thrill, hill, shrill, freedom). The
rigidity of the first three lines in following a rhyming scheme signifies
the captivity of the bird. The rhyme seems to be like a chain, holding the
bird down to his dire circumstances. However, what is most poignant is the
last line, which goes unmatched and does not follow the previous rigid
rhyming scheme. This shows us how, perhaps, hope still survives. As long
the caged bird continues to sing and hope for freedom, hope can never be
entirely extinguished. The last line is like the light at the end of the
tunnel, the promise at the end of a dream.

In all, the poet has masterfully transfixed us into this poem, bringing
alive a myriad of feelings within us. This is something so beautiful, that
despite the disparity of it all, we can feel a sense of freedom. Just the
like the bird, we can be free to feel. And that, perhaps, is wonderful
enough.







jas from South Africa
Comment 65 of 313, added on November 4th, 2005 at 10:46 AM.

Cool site! I'll be back. The best condition in life is:
http://www.useful-information.info/quotations/life-quotes.html , we elected
them , Discontent makes rich men poor

Luis Clark from USA
Comment 64 of 313, added on November 2nd, 2005 at 5:28 PM.

Maya is one of the best poets with the use of symbolism. In the political
view of this poem, you can see her informal protest of slavery. her suttle
words such as rage and sighing trees show the big difference in lives of
the birds. I would reccommend this poem to anyone looking for something
with sybolism.

Casondra from Sweden

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Information about I know why the caged bird sings

Poet: Maya Angelou
Poem: I know why the caged bird sings
Added: Feb 27 2004
Viewed: 5588 times
Poem of the Day: May 8 2007


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