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I know why the caged bird sings

The first two stanzas contrast two birds. Lines 1 through 7 describe the actions of a bird that is free; it interacts with
nature and dares to claim the sky. The second stanza (lines 8 through 14) tells of a captured bird that must endure
clipped wings, tied feet, and bars of rage; yet he still opens his throat and sings.

The third and fifth stanzas are identical. Lines 2, 4, and 6 and lines 5 and 7 of these identical stanzas rhyme. This repeated
verse elaborates on the song of freedom trilled by the caged bird; though his heart is fearful and his longings unmet, the
bird continues to sing of liberty. The fourth stanza continues the comparison of two birds, the caged and the free. The free
bird enjoys the breeze, the trees, the winds, the lawn, the sky, and the fat worms; the caged bird with his wings still
clipped and his feet still tied continues, nevertheless, to open his throat and sing. Like the refrain of a hymn, the fifth and
final stanza is a reiteration.

Angelous characterization of a bird that is free (first and fourth stanzas) provides an effective contrast with the bird that is
caged (second, third, fourth, and fifth stanzas). The sentiment that Angelou evokes in the reader is suggestive of Dunbars
inspirational poem.

Poetic devices

Angelou does not allow meter, rhyme, and stanza to control her poetry. She determines her own structureor 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. The number of beats per line varies; for example, line 1 has four beats,
line 2 has six, line 3 has four, and line 4 has five. The number of lines in each stanza fluctuates as well; stanzas 1 and 2 have
seven lines each, but stanzas 3 and 4 have eight. In addition to her use of the intermittent stanza, Angelou repeats stanza
3 as stanza 5; this repetition is reminiscent of the chorus in a song. The only other structuring device that Angelou
employs in the thirty-eight lines is sporadic rhyme. For instance, only lines 9 and 11 in the entire first two stanzas use
rhyming words (cage and rage); in the fourth stanza only lines 30 and 31 rhyme (breeze and trees). The only other
rhyming words that Angelou usesand at her own discretionare in the third stanza, which she repeats as stanza 5. She
rhymes trill and still with hill; she also rhymes heard and bird.

The repetition of the third stanza gives some predictability to the poem and allows the reader to participate actively in the
unpleasant plight of the caged bird. By contrast, other parts of the poem are unpredictable and at times even pleasurable;
the joy of the free bird makes it possible for the reader to bear the tragic story of the oppressed...

Overview of Poem Some poetic devices/literary elements used in Caged Bird by Maya Angelou are end rhyme, alliteration,
and personification. In lines 23 and 24 of the poem there is end rhyme with the words "breeze" and "trees". An example
of alliteration would be in line 10 "can seldom see through." The repetition of the "s" sounds at the beginning of seldom
and see is what causes this to be alliteration. Lastly, an example of personification is in line 28 where it says "his shadow
shouts on a nightmare scream." This is an example of personification because shadows do not have the human ability to
shout. Poetic Devices/Literary Elements Throughout the entire poem, Maya Angelou juxtaposes how the free bird feels
and how the caged bird feels. The free bird knows what it is like to be happy and he knows of everything in the world
because he can explore and experience everything. On the other hand, there is a very limited amount of things that the
caged bird can do because he is locked in a cage. The caged bird can only sing of what he doesn't know, and hope that one
day he can finally be released and explore the things he wants to. Juxtapositions The most obvious real world connection
that I can find in this poem is the free bird and the caged bird. This poem is based around the time period that Maya
Angelou grew up in. When Maya Angelou was growing up, African-Americans didn't have nearly as much privileges as they
do now.The free bird represents the average well-off white person who could do whatever they wanted and have
whatever they wanted. In this poem, the caged bird represents the average African-American or more specifically the
African-American community. The caged bird suits the role of the African-American community because all they could do
was sing their worries away and pray that one day change would come for them. Real-World Connections Oppression is
the theme that flows through the entire poem. Oppression describes more so how the caged bird feels and not how the
free bird feels. When Maya Angelou wrote this poem, it was the years following when her good friends and civil/human
rights activists Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. Maya Angelou felt strongly about oppression
because she grew up surrounded by it her entire life.


Evident in Caged Bird are two traditional literary themes: reversal of fortune and survival of the unfittest. By presenting
the free bird before depicting the caged bird, Angelou helps the reader visualize what the caged bird must have been like
before its capture; the description of the two contrasting environments helps the reader feel the sense of loss of the
captured bird because of its reversed fate. Even with its clipped wings, tied feet, narrow quarters, and bars of rage,
however, the fragile, caged bird is still able to survive and to soar again through its song; this imprisoned bird truly
epitomizes the survival of the unfittest, the major theme in the verse.

These contrasting environmentsthe freedom of the open world and the restrictive surroundings of the caged bird
create the setting for the poem. The reader can feel the breeze, see the sun, imagine the rich feast of fat worms, and hear
the sighing trees of the world of the free creature; in contrast, the reader feels the fear and restricted movement, sees the
bars, imagines the wants

Tone and mood

Maya Angelous simple yet serious tone in this poem is a reflection of the earnest struggle of the African-Americans in the
1950s. In the poem I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Angelou focuses on making the tone a very important part of her
poem. The atmosphere of this poem is very motivational; she wants people to realize the harm slaves had to face and how
much they have suffered because of racism. By the atmosphere,the poem also reflects on how Angelou is willing to take
action for her people who have no justice and no voice. Another very important factor is the tone and attitude that Maya
Angelou uses in her poem. Her tone is calm and direct, the reader can clearly see that this poet has a very important
message she wishes to portray, an example fot this could be: But a bird that stalks, down his narrow cage, can seldom see
through, his bars of rage. In this excerpt from the poem the language is simple, it also tells the reader how a caged bird
sings for freedom and sees hope through its cage bars. Angelou is referring to the African-Americans and how they felt
when they were captured and treated horribly, but somehow those people saw hope in their future. As the poem
progresses, the tone doesnt really change because in the last stanza she states: The caged bird sings, with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom. Which
is the same thing Angelou was stating at the beginning, that the bird still has hope to someday fly far, far away.

Throughout the poem, Maya Angelous diction is very concrete, but she uses these words to express abstract meanings.
Although Angelous words are very concrete, they are also vivid. The words used in this poem are used in everyday
language, which is simple to understand, but when you analyze the poem you realize the deep meanings she is portraying.
For example, in the fifth stanza Angelou writes:But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams, his shadow shouts on a
nightmare scream, his wings are clipped and his feet are tied, so he opens his throat to sing. As you can see, Angelou uses
concrete words that makes you as a reader think the poet is just talking about a bird that is trapped, but when you closely,
notice how she is talking about how African-American slaves are trapped and living in a nightmare. When writing this
poem, Angelou made an intelligent choice, repeating twice throughout the poem the stanzas that represent the real
meaning behind this inspirational piece of writing. [Tone : Angelous tone in this poem seems to me, depressing, yet
positive. She talks about how the caged bird sings of freedom, and I feel she is trying to express that maybe, the caged
bird will be set free one day.
Mood : The mood this poem sets is confusion. Angelou writes about a free bird and a caged bird, one is a daring bird (or
person) and one is a bird that is kept captive, that cannot be free, yet still the caged bird sings of freedom.
On a tree fallen across the road

These poems have some poetic devices that make this poem more beautiful. One of it is imagery. Imagery is the words or
phrases that request to any sense or any combination of senses. In this poem, it can be seen very clearly in stanza two in
line two which is she likes to halt us on a runner tracks which make us to imagine that mother nature is underestimate
the poet and the people around him. The next poetic device is symbol. Symbol is an item in a literary work that means
more than itself, which stand for itself. This is seen very clearly in this poem in stanza two in last line which is debating
what to do without an ax where ax is refer to our effort in daily lives. There are also hyperboles which are a numeral of
speech which involve overstatement. This is seen obviously in stanza three in last line which is not though we have to
seize earth by the pole.

Theme is the main idea of literary work which is preoccupied from the details of language, personality, and action in form
of generalization. It makes us to understand better about what is the writer or the poet want to say in his work. In this
poem, the theme that the poet carries out is overcoming obstacle. The poet is trying to say to the reader that life has a lot
of obstacles that the readers have to overcome with so that they can move forward to achieve what they want in their life
but they must overcome the obstacle by the purpose of strength and creativity to handle the obstacle.

Issues and concern that the poet are trying to raise is how to overcoming the problem in life. In life, there is a lot of
problem that makes our journey looks difficult and sometimes we give up to that. Actually we cannot give up to the
problem but we have to face it and handle the problem wisely and carefully as we dont want to add more problems in
life. This is to make sure that we can accomplish the goal of what we wish for in our life.

Tone and mood is the unspoken attitude of a poet puts towards the poem. It makes the reader to feel what the poet feel
when the poet expresses their feeling in the poem. In this poem, the tone and mood that the poem is trying to express to
the reader is optimistic as although there are a lot of obstacle in life but the poet are optimistic to continue his journey
and face the obstacle in front of him.