Response to Mya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"
Mya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" is a poem featured in her autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". Her book reflects the struggle she overcame as a young African American woman in the United States during, and before the civil rights movement. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" is about the life of a free "bird" vs. the life of a caged and captured "bird". Despite the captured bird having been captured rather than sing a song of powerlessness and defeat, he sings a song reverberant with hope for freedom. I believe Mya wrote this poem in order to provide hope for oppressed people and to also recognize her own struggles and how she got through them.
The title itself "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was inspired from "Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar where in the last sentence of the final stanza he concludes by stating "I know why the caged bird sings." I believe she also titled her poem this because the "I" refers to her personal experience on why she knows the "caged bird sings". She at one time, I believe, was the "caged bird" that she refers to in her poem, but she found and regained her freedom. The "bird"(s) in the poem is a metaphor. For example: the "caged bird" is a metaphor for oppressed people, off all races, while the "free bird" is a metaphor for people who are not being oppressed. In the poem it never states or implies that the free bird hears the song of the caged bird or that the free bird makes an effort to hear the song of the caged bird. Line 25 "and he (the free bird) names the sky his own But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams" First stanza, seventh line "dares to claim the sky" referring back to the bird and it's life of "flying freely". In contrast second stanza speaks about the caged bird and its clipped wings and tied feet. In line ten "can seldom see through his bars of rage", but still "he opens his throat to sing". Despite having being...
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