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TP-CASTT - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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brittney williams

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of TP-CASTT - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

TP-CASTT - I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
By: Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis Missouri, on April 4, 1928. Not only is she an established poet, but she is also an author, a historian, a songwriter, a playwright, a screen producer, a director, and many more things. Her poems have won her many awards and honors, including the Pulitzer prize, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped
and he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Title 1
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

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.

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.
When I first read the title of this poem, thought that it would have to do with something being held captive and its want to be free.
Paraphrase
In the first and fourth stanzas, the poem talks about the beauty of freedom. The next two stanzas are the opposite of the first and talk about the sadness of detainment. The caged bird is a symbol of a white person with many freedom,as where the caged bird symbolizes a black person experiencing racial discrimination.
Connotations
Personification
"winds soft through the
sighing trees
"
In this line of the poem, the trees are given the human-like characteristic of sighing.
Allusion
Rhyme
"But a bird that stalks
down his narrow
cage
can seldom see through
his bars of
rage
"
This is a masculine rhyme because the accent is
on the final syllable of the second and fourth lines.
This entire poem is a historical allusion to the era of the Jim Crow laws. It refers to the constant discrimination that African Americans faced during this time period.
Rhythm and Meter
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
The entire first verse (above) is a run-on line. It is one
sentence/thought that is carried on to multiple lines.
Imagery
"and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn"
These two lines from the fourth stanza have very
good adjectives that appeal to the reader's sense
of both touch and sight.
Stanzas
The first stanza is about the free bird, the next two are about the caged bird, the next is about the free bird, and the last two are about the caged bird. The first three stanzas have a rhyme scheme of ABCBDEF. The fourth and fifth stanzas have an ABCB rhyme scheme. The last stanza's rhyme scheme is ABCBDEDF.
Attitude
The attitude of this poem starts happy, but soon after it shifts to longing and wishing, which ends up being the mood for most of the poem.
Shift
The first shift in this poem is from freedom to longing after the first stanza. The attitude then switches back to freedom after the third stanza, and then back to longing after the fourth stanza.
Title 2
After reading the poem, I think that title means that Maya (the author) has experienced the lack of freedom that a caged bird feels daily, and therefor she understands why caged birds sing.
Theme
There will always be someone to judge you, but don't let those judgements define you.
Poet's Style
This poem reflects Maya's style in the fact that it's main topic/theme is racism, which is what most of her poems are about. She relaters her poem's to her own experiences with racial discrimination.
Background Info
"I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" was published in Maya Angelou's autobiography in 1969. It is set in Stamps, Arkansas, which is where Maya grew up. The entire book was nominated for a National Book Award in 1970, and it remained on The New York Times paperback bestseller list for two years.
Full transcript