Essay On Caged Bird By Maya Angelou

"Caged Bird" By Maya Angelou Essay

Question:Explore the ways in which Maya Angelou uses the 'Caged Bird' metaphor to present her ideas.

Consider the range of poetic devices, language, poet's message, technique, etc.

The poem ’Caged Bird’ composed by Maya Angelou depicts the contrast between good and evil, black and white, freedom and imprisonment. It also displays deeper meanings and connections to how the blacks were and are treated by the white. The caged bird can be considered as the black race, trapped in a life of misery, hardship and depression. However the bird (blacks) has some hope to be saved.

The poem starts off with the bird being free, the time when the blacks still were leading their simplistic life in Africa. Life seems easy; one can do whatever one feels like doing. Verbs are emphasized through sibilance which conveys a flowing structure of the poem and the easy flow of life. But it can also pertain to the white man as the final line reveals; ‘And dares to claim the sky’ shows how the white is trying to claim the entire world.

However stanza 2 and 3 carry words with negative connotations in them. They speak of a bird that is caged; the black man as a slave in America, their freedom of choice is undermined by the white. The ‘bars of rage’ are the black man’s anger which also can be considered as a hindrance for him to do anything, too blinded by his fierce anger and not seeking any possible outcome to the problem. The repeated ‘o’ sound in the final line in stanza 2 creates the impression that the call for freedom never ends (‘so he opens his throat to sing’). He is...

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Maya Angelou as a Caged Bird Essay

1153 Words5 Pages

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The graduation scene from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings illustrates how, living in the midst of racism and unequal access to opportunity, Maya Angelou was able to surmount the obstacles that stood in her way of intellectual develop and find "higher ground." One of the largest factors responsible for Angelou's academic success was her dedication to and capacity for hard work, "My work alone has awarded me a top place...No absences, no tardinesses, and my academic work was among the best of the year" (Angelou 13-14). Angelou worked hard and read a great deal in order to be able to perform on such a level, in spite of the fact that she had much less access (or none) to the quality of teachers, school…show more content…

Angelou also overcame the isolation, muffling of her voice and low self-esteem that can develop in a segregated environment by looking to those who had achieved higher ground before her, in books, in music, and in art. She completely memorized The Rape of Lucrece, was well versed in Shakespeare, knew the life and times of Booker T. Washington, and was aware of the enduring power of black music. Like Washington would advocate, through hard work, education, love of others and making herself indispensable by way of her accomplished development, Angelou was able to rise above the disadvantages of her environment repeatedly. This is not to say that feelings of low self-esteem, anger, hostility, bitterness and rage were not all feelings and emotions engendered in her by the abusive environment that she would have to let go of before she could truly find herself-on higher ground. She describes how awful it was to be black and be accused of things one could not even find opportunity to defend against. She wishes all blacks were dead, she says black is one of the colors she hates, and she wishes she could choke Donleavy to death for his exploitative, ignorant racist ideology. Yet, even when she is at her angriest, we see her wit and intelligence shine through that anger light a bright ray of hope, the same ray of light she will eventually use to find herself and reach higher ground. Her

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