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Analysis and comments on Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Comment 25 of 165, added on December 28th, 2008 at 7:35 PM.

and you'll be sent back in time.

robbin from United States
Comment 24 of 165, added on December 4th, 2008 at 3:53 PM.

did you know this poem inspired two other poems? maya angelou wrote a poem
named "I know Why the caged bird sings" and :a song flung up to heaven"
both come from the poem "Sympathy" check it out they are nice poems

John from Canada
Comment 23 of 165, added on October 6th, 2008 at 4:24 PM.

I have search for this poem from time to time and was so glad to happen
across this site...I too have remember it from grade school. My classmate
recited the entire poem in front of the entire class. I will always
remember that day as it is forever etched in my mind along with a few lines
of the poem. Thank you so much to my classmate, I have cherrished those few
line and her most grandeur delivery!

Sylvia Hawthorne from United States
Comment 22 of 165, added on July 16th, 2008 at 11:55 PM.

Dunbar had a classical education. He preferred to write in classic styles
as he did when he wrote "Sympathy." Nonetheless, white people in the USA
preferred to read his poems in dialect, implying that "Black" poetry was
better when written in the "Black" vernacular. Dunbar received little
recognition for "Sympathy" but was admired by his white readers for
composing dialect poems, which he despised, but which were what he could

Janice Howard from United States
Comment 21 of 165, added on May 7th, 2008 at 11:40 PM.

I'm sorry but Dunbar was never a slave, his parents were slaves but he was
born after the emancipation proclamation and also in ohio which is north
(were african americans were free)...he knew about the slave situation
because his parents suffered it.

jay from United States
Comment 20 of 165, added on February 13th, 2008 at 4:51 PM.

I think it is important to keep in mind that this poem was published in
1899, after the Civil War. I find that it is not so much about slavery
itself, but the struggle since, especially in the Reconstruction Era and
thereafter. While it's novel to relate it to our everyday lives and so
forth, the social context of the poem's publication and its implications
are far more important in this poem particularly.

C from United States
Comment 19 of 165, added on October 25th, 2007 at 1:44 PM.

'Sympathy' is a powerful echo of Fredrick Douglas' experiences as an
American slave. It depicts oppression and suffering those enslaved -both
physically and psychologically- undergo in a symbolic and subtle way.

N. Seurey from Kenya
Comment 18 of 165, added on July 6th, 2007 at 11:46 AM.

This poem is symbolic of everyday life for enslaved african americans. They
were the caged bird, desperatley trying to be free.

Mike Gray from United States
Comment 17 of 165, added on March 27th, 2007 at 2:58 AM.

Dunbar feels that the caged bird sings for not that he is happy, but that
he is crying and awaiting to be saved from the torture he has endured for
so long. But then my thoughts are, why be sympathetic. Why not instead
rescue the caged bird from its depression and conflictions, why must one
watch and stand by while the caged bird suffers and dies slowly from all
the weight of its troubles. That is what Dunbar’s poem was for, he wrote it
to ask us why have we stood by and watched as we as a people (African
Amreican)have been the caged bird constantly beating its wings against the
cage and crying out not singing for our freedom.

starleana holmes from Barbados
Comment 16 of 165, added on January 17th, 2007 at 11:50 AM.

i really enjoy this poem because it shows the circle of life and suffering
from everyday life. everyone can relates to this poem.

mihir from India

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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Information about Sympathy

Poet: Paul Laurence Dunbar
Poem: Sympathy
Added: Mar 17 2005
Viewed: 30733 times

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