I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: Behind the Cage

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Poetry comes from the heart, it is an art form that is not visual, but it can still be seen through analysis and thought. Poetry is meaningful, though confusing at some times, and has been popular for ages. Maya Angelou, born in 1928, is a well-known African American poet, recognized for her poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” also known as “Caged Bird” was written in 1969 about Angelou’s struggle as a young girl. Angelou uses her life and experiences with racism and discrimination to prove that even in rough times, one can soar to even greater heights than imagined. Throughout this poem Maya Angelou uses metaphors and repetition, figurative language, and symbols to show it was not easy to be free …show more content…
Historically, singing was one of the most popular way to let out feelings and a way of expression for the slaves. Lastly, one of the metaphors that stood out was the “grave of dreams” reference. Grave of dreams seems to be a loss of hope of freedom and the chance to living the “American Dream” for the slaves. It is like saying their dreams of living life as a free person are dead and buried. Angelou does a great job of showing images to the reader (Poetry Genius). Along with metaphors and repetition, Angelou uses symbols to show the life of a slave. One of the most common symbols Angelou uses is the phrase “caged bird”. “Caged bird” means exactly how it sounds, trapped. It is a symbol for the African slaves, they were birds trapped in a world where they couldn’t be free. “Narrow cage” is another example of a symbolic presence in the poem. “Narrow cage” can be seen as the oppressors of the slaves, they stood in the way of their freedom and happy life. On the other hand “free bird” is the white race that retains their freedom. The last symbol that is seen is “fat worms” which can be deciphered into opportunity and hope. Angelou writes of the fat worms being in another place, where she one day hopes to be. Angelou uses a lot of different language to give the reader a sense of the poem (Vicki). Figurative language is one of the more important aspects of Angelou’s poem, and it is used to show visuals to the reader. The phrases “leaps on

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