This is a quote from one of Maya Angelous most popular poems “Caged Bird”, it is about the civil rights movement. The bird symbolizes the African Americans and the cage are the white people who are keeping them from their rights.They are keeping them in a cage and not letting them experience what is outside. Freedom. Maya Angelou impacted the Civil Rights by cooperating with others, contributing time, money, and most of anything that she had. And she did it all with the goal of many others, to make a difference.
There have been many injustices throughout history, like slavery and discrimination; this is the time where two poems take place; “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird”. Maya Angelou and Paul Laurence Dunbar describe how it is like to be discriminated and separated, through their poems “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird”. However, they did not convene to generate these poems. Dunbar innovated the metaphor of a caged bird and discrimination. In her poem “Caged Bird” debuted in 1969, Maya Angelou writes about a character that is a caged bird who cannot fly and is separated from other birds. Paul Laurence Dunbar also writes of the struggle of a caged bird, who cannot become free even after eating the bars of his cage, in his poem “Sympathy” broached in 1889. Both writers explain the situations of caged birds and their desires to be free. In the poems “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird”, caged birds both sing for freedom, however, one is more confined than the other; “Caged Bird” is more meaningful, because the bird is unable to fly, and is emotionally affected by that.
The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Specifically it will discuss the themes of racism and segregation, and how these strong themes are woven throughout this moving autobiography. Maya Angelou recounts the story of her early life, including the racism and segregation she experiences throughout her formative years. With wit, sincerity, and remarkable talent, Angelou portrays racism as a product of ignorance and prejudice. However, she finds the strength to rise above this crippling condition.
Angelou was born in Missouri in 1928. She spent most of her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, pre Civil Rights Movement with her grandmother and her older brother. Angelou is most known for writing the poem Caged Bird. In the first stanza about the caged bird, Angelou declares that the bird, “can seldom see through/ his bars of rage/ his wings are clipped and/ his feet are tied/ so he opens his throat to sing”(Caged Bird). Angelou uses the bird as a metaphor for oppressed African Americans during this time period; the bird is held back by a barrier, just like African Americans were held back by unjust laws, a corrupt legal system, and their white peers who saw them as inferior. Similar to the bird, Angelou felt held back by others, but she did not let the “bars of rage” hold her back from her potential so, like the bird, she “opened her throat to sing” and used her voice to protest for herself and those who could not advocate for themselves.
In the poem, “Sympathy” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and the response to the literature, “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou are structured around the symbol of a caged bird. As the caged bird is the symbol of the African American race during that time, both have similar and different meanings in their responses.
The poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou tells the story of two birds: one bird has the luxury of freedom and the second bird lives its life caged and maltreated by an unknown tyrant. Maya Angelou wrote this poem during the Civil Rights Era, the period when black activists in the 1950’s and 1960’s fought for desegregation of African Americans. This poem parallels the oppression that African Americans were fighting during this time period. In “Caged Bird”, Angelou builds a strong contrast that shows the historical context of discrimination and segregation through the use of mood, symbolism, and theme.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a memoir written by Maya Angelou, discussing her life after being sent, by her mother, to her grandmother at three years old with her brother. As a child, she was a witness and a victim of the atrocities of society. Throughout this book, the readers will see many types of tone in many different parts of the story while reading.
Have you ever considered how a young, insecure, black girl growing up in the South during the 1930s dealt with physical and verbal discrimination directed toward her African American race? This may not seem like a big deal at first, but consider that this was a time before the African American Civil Rights Movement; a time during which racism and segregation were a fact of life. It was a daily struggle for blacks to live in a society that clearly and openly did not accept them as equal people. They were frequently ridiculed and disrespected just because of the color of their skin. Since they were evidently treated
The poems “ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou are both poems that speak on the issues of the mistreatment of African Americans, and how these challenges were created simply by the color of one’s skin and overcome. While the poems “Mother To Son” and “ Dreams” by Langston Hughes refer to the hopes of African Americans for a better standard of living, and the consequences of departing from these dreams of bettering themselves. This comparison of these four poems is important because all four aim to better society for African Americans, and inform the population struggles that they maybe be able to relate, and provide them with the inspiration to keep pushing forward. These poems explain why the desire for equality was so important to African americans at this time, and what they had to go through to get it. I believe that these poems are all used as methods of expression, information, as well as rebellion against the racial in injustice that was suffered for so long.
Maya Angelou is a leader by example, she sets the standard by her actions and the stories she tells teaches the audience a lesson. Majority of her work is to inform us of the past and she wants us to learn from her experiences in life; she is a life teacher. The purpose of this poem was to inform us of the history of our country. The poem is titled “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and her purpose of writing this is to teach the reader why the caged bird sings. Maya Angelou wants to put the reader in her shoes to get the ultimate experience of racial inequality but instead by taking the role of a caged bird or a free bird.
Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya shields herself against the confusion of St. Louis by reading fairy-tales and telling herself that she does not intend on staying there anyway. Vivian works in a gambling parlor at night. Maya pities Mr. Freeman because he spends his days at home waiting for Vivian to return. Maya begins sleeping at night with Vivian and Mr. Freeman because she suffers from nightmares. One morning after Vivian has left the bed and the house,
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a novel by Maya Angelou, where she writes about her childhood and her experiences while growing up. This non-fiction novel illustrates Maya Angelou’s childhood, being tossed around by her parents, and having to experience different cultures. Maya struggles particularly in finding friends, she is reserved, and will only open up to Bailey, her brother. Maya moves a couple of times to different places, which may contribute to her not having friends. The novel revolves around Maya Angelou, Bailey, and her grandmother, evolving through life from being a child to a teenager. This novel is set in the “South”, in America.