Maya Angelou's Caged Bird

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Maya Angelou has yet again appealed for the freedom of mankind with the use of a metaphor, by portraying the caged the bird as a human in slavery or being racially trapped. With the use of repetition and vivid imagery she has compared defenseless caged bird’s song to that of the song of the freedom cry by men. In the first stanza, words such as “leaps”, “floats”, “dips” and “claim” signify the freedom a free bird has. He can “leap on the back of the wind” and go where ever he pleases, he can”float downstream and dip his wing in the sun’s rays” and has power over all the sky. The second stanza however, contrasts the first and shows how through “the bars of rage” he has to sit in his in his cage and only see what other free birds are doing. “His wings are clipped and feet are tied” shows how defenseless and mistreated he is. “So he opens his throat to sing” signifies that regardless the situation there will always be a cry for freedom and justice. Although Angelou never directly states race, she does manage to get the point across thought the anthem like song of freedom sung by the trapped caged bird. “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill” shows that even though he is still trapped and idle. Regardless of what comes his way he will continue the song of freedom even in his deepest fears and in a fearful tone for this song has to be heard all over the world. Angelou has placed nature, colors and an anthem in somewhat like a formulaic pattern. She starts with the use of verbs that signify freedom for the white man- even when she doesn’t clearly state it- and moves on to the rage, injustice, mistreatment of the black man through the use of the words “narrow cage”, “seldom”, “bars of rage”, “wings clipped”, and “feet tied”. The tone is then moved on to a more pulsating stream where the “caged bird sings with a fearful trill” and we as the reader get to create a vivid picture in our minds of the many black men standing up a hill facing a white army and singing...
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