Theme Of Sympathy In Caged Bird

Decent Essays

The Exploration of Dedication in “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird”
Similarly, both poems "Sympathy" and "Caged Bird" examine related themes about dedication through the captured bird’s continuous persistence and use of his helpless song despite previous efforts. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Sympathy” focuses on an enclosed bird’s constant fighting against numerous physical limitations from deserved opportunities, emphasizing his hopeless shouting for liberty. In contrast, Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” explicitly discusses a trapped bird’s efforts to overcome various boundaries using his underestimated song and constant perseverance. While both poems “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird” share a comparable theme about African American's battle for deserved advantages …show more content…

In “Sympathy,” the captured bird uses his song as his only tool for communication and an indirect protest for his deserved opportunities. Dunbar states, “It is not a carol of joy or glee, / But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core” (lines 18, 19). In this quote, the bird’s cries and sorrowful song were misinterpreted for happiness, although they were his only resources for demanding liberty. Even though the bird’s song is full of longing and anger, others misunderstood the bird’s cries as cheerful and dismiss its true meaning. As a result, the bird’s misunderstood singing represents African American’s secret portrayal of difficulties disguised under joyful songs. Similarly to “Sympathy,” the enclosed bird in “Caged Bird” used his voice as a resource to try to overcome these injustices despite his restrictions. The author notes, “His wings are clipped and / his feet are tied / so he opens his throat to sing” (Angelou 12-14). In this quote, readers can observe that despite the trapped bird’s physical restrictions, he will forever maintain control over his feelings and words. Although tying the bird’s wings restrict his physical abilities, his perspective and emotions cannot be controlled by anyone …show more content…

First, by incorporating the enclosed bird’s sorrowful song, the poems were capable of using his cries as a representation for African American’s single remaining tool against limitations, therefore emphasizing the theme about African American’s constant fighting for opportunities. Secondly, by examining the captured bird’s persistence for liberty despite physical restrictions and painful efforts, the poems were able to demonstrate African American’s dedication throughout injustices. Finally, the regulated form of “Sympathy” differs significantly with the erratic structure of “Caged Bird,” explaining their different views about the possibility of liberty for African Americans. Thus, both authors successfully portray that despite the world’s hopeless obstacles and restrictions, previous generation's dedicated battles for their liberty will allow future ones to eventually become the free birds who release themselves from their ancestor’s worn down

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