Analyzing Caged Bird: A Poem by Maya Angelou


Have you read this poem?
Some may people recognize this poem in title “I know why the caged bird sings” with 6 stanzas and 38 line version written by Maya Angelou; a well-known African-American woman poet by this poem who personally experienced racial prejudices, discrimination and was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. But here, I want to explore the 3 stanzas with 22 lines version which looks from the title, this poem might be found as a poem that represent about the imprisonment and I stand that this poem declares about the fight for slavery.
First, this poem comes with general symbol of confinement; caged bird and freedom; free bird, and extended metaphor in its entire lines. Maya Angelou talks about life she experienced into this poem where the ‘caged bird’ here represents the character of pathetic African-American race and the ‘free bird’ shows the whites race in their thriving-formidable condition.
This is a straightforward poem with full of connotation words choices since this poem provides an abstract illustration of oppression and freedom. It starts with the illustration of white race who live in ease by believing that they are at the top and powerful than the blacks. Then in the next stanzas, Maya Angelou put the illustration of African-American who even live under suppression, they still fight for themselves to be free, as it is written in ‘… his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing’.
As we read this poem, we can see this poem also represent some literature images together with the changing of emotion and mood the author wrote in the stanzas. The author first provide the simple portrait feeling of joy from a free bird. The words like “leaps” shows the feel of joy and the “dares to claim the sky” represent the feeling of brave. Then, the mood change into the anger of caged bird who keep singing to show its existence.
Going from all the fear and the unstoppable dreams and hope, their voice are heard the caged bird finally can sing for the freedom. This stanza made the mood change into the feeling of happiness and blessed.
Slightly looking through the whole poems, we will get a simple impression that this is just a poem, telling about how different it is to be a caged bird and a free bird. Yet, when we look at Angelou’s journey of life; where she lived in a period of black race slavery in Arkansas, a state near the Mississippi, we will know that this poem is closely related to what Angelou had experienced.

Works Cited

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