Last Updated 20 Mar 2021

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Before I chose this poem, I was thinking about choosing a couple of other ones when I finally realized that this poem caught my eye the most. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings helped me realize the benefits and consequences from both sides in life. I found this poem in Google under the category that said “poems that talk about life”. If you read this poem and take it literally, than it will mean nothing, but if you take it to the next level by comparing it to life, than it will mean so much more. The author of this poem is Maya Angelou who is a famous well known poet throughout the world. Angelou is an African American who went through so much pain during her youth years. Angelou was just a child when African Americans were being discriminated by whites. When she was eight years old, her mother’s boyfriend, Freeman, raped and sexually abused Angelou. She then told her brother who later took Freeman to court finding him guilty. After he was released from jail, one of Angelou’s uncles murdered Freeman later turning Angelou into a mute.

Angelou stayed mute for five years, but within those years was when she developed a passion for books and literature. Throughout the years, Angelou has written many poems such as On the Pulse of Morning and Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was chosen as the title of this poem because it talks about how people in life struggle through so many things and that we must hold on to hope in order to keep moving on in life. Angelou put this as the title because it represents who she is and Lee 2 what she went through.

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She knows why the caged bird sings because she is the caged bird. The title tells us that this poem is going to talk about what Angelou felt and her experiences of her youth. The caged bird and Angelou have so many things in common. Both have been restricted and need to be let free. This title does reflect the overall theme of this poem. It actually explains so much more of the theme rather than the poem itself. I don’t believe that this poem needs an alternative title. It tells the reader everything already. It already touched my heart and I believe that it’s the perfect title. I would say that this poem would be a lyrical type of poem. This poem expresses a lot of feelings and emotions that allows the reader to understand what the poet felt. This poem expresses the feelings of being alone, locked up and wanting to be free. I believe that the speaker of this poem is someone who is like a bystander. This bystander is observing one bird that is caged and another that is free. The situation is that the caged bird is trying to be like the free bird by spreading out its wings, but can’t because of its oppressor making it impossible for him to fly.

This poem is written in free verse meaning that it contains no definite meter or a pattern of the rhyme scheme. It is divided into six stanzas containing four to eight lines within each stanza. Each line does not contain a lot of words and the poet makes it short and simple. “.

This poem contains many personifications and metaphors such as “But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams” (metaphor). Angelou uses the caged bird and the free bird as an analogy that talks about her life.

This poem talks about two birds, one that is free and another that is locked up. Angelou talks about how the free bird is independent and does whatever it wants while the caged bird just Lee 3 hops around in his cage singing. She is comparing the lives of these two birds. The theme is about Angelou’s struggle to survive and how she grew up in a cruel world.

The first stanza talks about how the free bird flies endlessly in the sky and floats down a stream relaxing. This stanza is telling us how there are people in this world who are not afraid of anything and can do whatever they please. To them, there is nothing that is troubling them and life is perfect. The second and third stanza then switches over to the caged bird and talks about how he does not have enough space to walk around. The only thing this bird can do is to sing about his rage. These stanzas tell us that there are those like Angelou who don’t possess what others have and uses the only thing they have.

The only thing that they possess is hope and without hope there is nothing at all. The fourth stanza talk about how the free bird is provided with everything it needs. If you compare this to life than it tells us how there are others who are spoiled and well cared for. The fifth stanza talks about how the caged bird only has his voice because everything he used to have are now gone. Even though some people don’t have what they need, they still make the best of what they have left. The last and final stanza repeats the third stanza. All we can do is to dream and wish for what we want while living life the best we can.

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