Question - What are the themes in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?

Answered by: Jean Davis  |  Category: General  |  Last Updated: 19-06-2022  |  Views: 687  |  Total Questions: 14

The story shows Maya's personal journey as she works through her poor self-concept, unstable home life, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy. Some of the critical themes of this story surround racism, self-acceptance, and belonging. The themes of a story are its most significant points. The principal theme of “Caged Bird” is freedom. Closely related to this theme are imprisonment and confinement—in other words, a lack of freedom. The poem “Caged Bird” has been written by N Maya Angelou in which she speaks about the oppression which Black women had to face. It symbolizes the theme of the poem about the African American people who were oppressed by the Whites in their own land. The poem "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" talks about the bird who lives in a cage and one who lives in the free air. The poet Maya Angelou points out the idea that freedom is the most important necessity of any organism. Freedom should be the basic right of any individual. Both the free bird and the caged bird in Maya Angelou's poem are self-aware, because they both entertain no illusions about who they are. The free bird is free and enjoys the benefits of that to the fullest. The caged bird knows that it is imprisoned and resents it. The caged bird, meanwhile, longs to be free.

Expert Answers info The caged bird represents the speaker's sense of being trapped as the result of racism and oppression. The poem draws the comparison between the free bird and the caged bird to show what the kind of life the caged bird is meant to live.

The bird represents freedom or desire to be free, while the cage symbolizes confinement or oppression.

The free bird symbolizes people who live in this world unencumbered by prejudice of any type whether it be racial, socioeconomic, or psychological. The free bird has the opportunity to move through life soaking in its abundance.

Maya Angelou used a number of the more popular rhetorical devices in her writing, including hyperbole, simile and alliteration. In this lesson, we'll take a look at some examples of rhetorical devices in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

This poem evokes the sympathy of its reader for the bird who cannot soar under the sun with the wind beneath his wings. Still, the bird's spirit is resilient and the imprisoned bird expresses his desire to soar despite his bindings. The overall tone of the poem is sorrowful, but persevering.

Angelou does not allow meter, rhyme, and stanza to control her poetry. She determines her own structure—or lack of it—and uses form and device for her own means; she searches for the sound, the tempo, the rhythm, and the rhyme appropriate for each line. “Caged Bird” is an example of unstructured verse.

Conceit: The poem, "Caged Bird" describes the daily life of a caged bird. The birds wings are clipped and its feet are tied, so it can only do one thing, sing. The poem is a free verse.

The tone of Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem "Sympathy" is one of desperation and agony; yet, there is also a reverent understanding for this unconquered, though desperate, human spirit. The little caged bird exemplifies this same unconquered spirit of the speaker of this spiritual. This bird must sing, or he will die.

The speaker of the poem begins by telling us that he "knows how caged bird feels, " and then spends the resting of the poem describing how terrible its life is. Dunbar's not talking about a real bird, though. Nope—instead the caged bird becomes a metaphor for the speaker's own lack of freedom, his own oppression.

In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou writes about her childhood conflicts. A man versus society conflict she faces is racism that runs rampant in Stamps, Arkansas. This conflict eventually leads to Maya's involvement in the civil rights movement.

The caged bird is singing of freedom and hope. 'Things unknown' refers to the fact that the bird has never enjoyed freedom before and so has no idea as to what it tastes like. Though he is singing of freedom that he has longed for all his life, it is something completely unknown to him.

As the poet depicts in the poem, the free bird floats on the back of the wind, dips his wings in the orange sun rays and claims the sky as his own. On the other hand, the caged bird walks sadly inside his narrow cage and tries hard to see through the bars of his cage. His wings are clipped and feet are tied.

The context of Dunbar's poem concerns a caged bird that continually throws itself up against the bars of its cage in search of its freedom, all the while singing as it struggles. For Angelou, the image of a caged bird serves as a metaphor for her own life.