I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Poetry Analysis

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist. ‘I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing’ is one of her most popular works. On its very superficial layer, the poem contrasts the experiences of the caged birds with that of the free birds. But it is not only that, remember Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist. Through the extended metaphor of birds, the poet talks about the historical oppression of the African-American community in the American society.

The opening stanza of the poem demonstrates the freedom the bird experiences as it moves freely in the wind, gliding up and down but the poem quickly takes a somber tone when it talks about the caged birds. Words like ‘narrow cage‘ and ‘bars of rage’ signify the distressed situation of the caged bird. Further, his wings are clipped and his feet are tied. The wavering voice of…

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