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

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Comment 70 of 550, 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 550, 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 550, 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 550, 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 550, 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

jas from South Africa
Comment 65 of 550, 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 550, 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
Comment 63 of 550, added on November 1st, 2005 at 9:29 AM.

I think the line breaks are wrong in this version of the poem. Check out
other versions of it.

Karen from Canada
Comment 62 of 550, added on October 25th, 2005 at 2:47 PM.

this poem is beautiful. I have done reports on her poems and she is
amazing! i'm glad that i found this poem. :-)

chavon bodnar from United States
Comment 61 of 550, added on October 20th, 2005 at 8:56 PM.

This poes is very interesting. Its about freedom and the will to be
free.if you read the poem and analized good this poem is kind of sad.
because the cage bird can not be free. its a cool poem.

carolina valenzo from Canada

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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: 548 times
Poem of the Day: May 8 2007

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