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Caged Bird Essay
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| Words: 1079 | Submitted: 23-Jan-2012
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DescriptionEssay on poem Caged Bird
CAGED BIRD RESPONSE
In her poem “Caged Bird”, Maya Angelou uses metaphors to represent a group of oppressed people, specifically comparing the servile and mistreated black race to a caged bird and the privileged and opulent white race to a free bird. The words black, white, Negro, albino or any other terms that refer to racial segregation are not stated directly throughout the poem. However, the hardships and frustrations that Maya Angelou suffered by living in a segregated black community, allows readers easily read through the lines. She talks about a free bird and caged bird’s wings, their process in hunting down food and their ability to sing. These three common aspects of a bird’s life have a deeper and larger meaning about the harsh realities and oppression experienced by an entire race.
Angelou compares the bird’s wings to human rights. The free bird is taking advantage of his ability to fly everywhere:
and dips his wing in
the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
Maya Angelou uses the word “and” repeatedly to express all of the things available to the free bird. She also uses verbs such as “dips”, “leaps” and “floats” to show an independent creature with the freedom to experiment with its actions. The free bird has access to everything and is taking advantage of resources available to him. This is similar to the white race who controlled what was going on around them- including the actions of the blacks. On the other hand, the caged bird is deprived of its valuable body parts: “his wings are clipped and his feet are tied”. The caged bird is unable to enjoy the freedom due to its prison, clipped wings, and tied feet. During Angelou’s lifetime, unfair laws and societal oppression restricted African- Americans from reaching their full potential. The trapped caged bird that doesn’t have control of its pinions and feet represents what has gone down through tradition, the disadvantages of the blacks because of their skin color. Racism has been an ongoing issue throughout history, with barriers put up between different races. Among all forms of discrimination, the division and inequities between blacks and whites has been the most notorious. Similar to the free bird having control over everything, the whites owned the land, the police, the government, the courtrooms, the law, the armed forces, and the press. The caged with no wings was like the blacks with no rights and hardly any control over their lives.
The free bird’s ability to hunt down its food epitomizes hope and opportunity. As the caged bird is trapped in a cage, the free bird is basking in nature looking out for ...
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