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Sympathy Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Sue Guo

on 14 March 2014

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Transcript of Sympathy Paul Laurence Dunbar

Interpret
Sound devices: this poem mainly uses two sound devices , alliteration and consonance.

for example at the first paragraph
1. Alliteration
Line 3: " when the wind stirs soft through the springing grass"
Line 5,6"when the first bird sings and the first bud opes"
"and the faint perfume from its chalice steals"
Here the poet uses alliteration twice using the letters "w" and "s"
2, Consonance
At the end of every sentence:"alas", "slopes", "grass", "opes", "steals", "feels"
All of them have "s" in the end, so it is consonance.
Comment
Personal
by Sue
(1872-1906)
Sympathy
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Evaluate
“Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Paul Laurence Dunbar is an African American poet of the 19th and 20th centuries. In his life, he has been through a lot of suffering, he experienced slavery and racism. His experience and all the black people experience in the 1800s were reflected in this poem. The whole poem is a metaphor, Dunbar is describing the black people as the caged bird: they have lost their freedom and felt that they are locked in a cage.
The poem is very good on showing how the person who lost his freedom feels; it's making the reader feel sympathy for them.
The theme of the poem is to show that the black people in the 1800s had been through a lot of suffering in their life, they had hope that one day they would be free, even if this is impossible, they are keeping trying and trying to be free. This poem is not only describing the black people but also every other man, woman, and slave who lost their freedom and have been through a lot of suffering.
This poem is related to the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Tom Robinson, who is black, and has been accused for raping a white girl. But, he is innocent, he didn't rape that girl. His only crime is that he is black. Because he is black he doesn't deserve to be free. Because he is black he doesn't deserve to live, and he must be slave, do what the white people ask him to do, or die.
Also, the character, Boo Radley, has suffered in his life. He has been locked in his home for thirty years, without going out, without seeing the sun light or the children playing in the street but he only have to stay in the home lonely and sad. They have been treated him as a different person who doesn't deserve to be free.

The poet is expressing the experience that Paul Dunbar had to face everyday of his life because of his skin and the pain of a caged bird whom represented the people who have lack of freedom. at first,the poem sympathizes the caged bird whom could see everything that is happening around him. The “ springing” in the third line symbolized hope, but when a bird is locked , it’s just a bird who lost his hope because bird was born to fly in the sky. In the second stanza, the poem shows how the bird reacts to limited freedom, the bird will not give up on trying to be free till his wings are bleed. At last, the poet talked about the bird singing for his freedom. When one is not able to be free, the song that he sings from the bottom of his heart will always be remembered.
It does apply to our life because there racism still exists around us now.
This is a powerful poetry with strong emotions about the "caged birds", which is the metaphor for himself, for every black people who are exactly like him with no freedom.
The metaphor shows a desperate caged bird beating his wings, willing to soar into the sky, willing to feel the spring like others. Paul Dunbar spoke out for all the black people who wanted to be free like other white people.
After reading the poetry, I can feel the desperation of him. He wanted to show how African-Americans were caged in life. He pointed out the odious behavior of racism.
Personal
by Amber
Summarize
Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Born on June 27,1872; died on February 9, 1906; grew up in Dayton, Ohio.
African-American poet, novelist and playwright; activated in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
His parents had been slaves in Kentucky before the American Civil War; father died when Paul was twelve.
Showed prowess; started writing at young age ; published first poem at age 16.
The speaker is the people who have no freedom, and who experience the pain of captivity.
The context and setting
A bird locked in a cage unable to fly in the beautiful spring, unable to go his home. This description is about Dunbar himself, the poet, because he is a black male in the 1800s, he has been through the same experience the caged bird has been through. All the black people in the 1800s, were suffering like the caged bird, they felt that they are locked in a cage, lost their freedom, and unable to do what they want.
Personal
by Marina
Interpret
Interpret
Rhyme scheme: The rhyme scheme of each stanza is abaabcc. Each of the rhyme is masculine.masculine is a rhyme that only matches one syllable and it’s at the end of the lines in a poem.
Type of poem: Sympathy is a lyric / Narrative poem; the Lyric poets are usually used to express author’s personal emotions and feelings and they usually have rhyme scheme.

Background: Paul’s parents were freed slaves from the state of Kentucky .he created this poet upon on his parents’ slavery experience. Drew upon on what he experienced in his life,he felt he was been trapped and had limited freedom. The caged bird symbols people who were suffering from the pain of captivity.

This poem was published in Lyrics of the Hearthside by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1899.
References
http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides4/Sympathy.html

http://smellinotes.tripod.com/notes/poetry_class_notes/sympathy.html

http://prezi.com/xe50zum4u4ig/copy-of-sympathy-by-paul-laurence-dunbar/

http://www.writework.com/essay/analysis-sympathy-written-paul-laurence-dunbar
This is a powerful poetry with strong emotions about the "caged birds", which is the metaphor for himself, for every black people who are exactly like him with no freedom.
The metaphor shows a desperate caged bird beating his wings, willing to soar into the sky, willing to feel the spring like others. Paul Dunbar spoke out for all the black people who wanted to be free like other white people.
After reading the poetry, I can feel the desperation of him. He wanted to show how African-Americans were caged in life. He pointed out the odious behavior of racism.
Caged bird
A free bird leaps
On the back of the wind
And floats downstream
Till the current ends
And dips his wing
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 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 caged bird
Sings of freedom
by Maya Angelou
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.
In this poem, Angelou is comparing and contrasting a free bird to a caged bird. Like Dunbar, she writes to express her own desire for freedom.

This sentence:“the caged bird sings with a fearful trill of tings unknown but longed for still” is very close at “ and a pain still throbs in the old, old scars. And they pulse again with a keener sting”

Both of them determined that the caged bird has been wanting and struggling to be free of his cage.
Here is another literary similar with “Sympathy”
Summarize
The intended audience
The intended audience is people who are longing to get free from racism, prejudice and discrimination.
Because the poet was the son of ex-slaves. This poem combined the humorous and sadness. The surface of this poem was telling the sorrow of the caged bird but actually it pointed the humble of black people who were"caged". This poem also is the author's autobiography in order to seek the equality and peace between black people and white people.
Summarize
What is happening in the poem?
The first stanza of “Sympathy” is about a bird locked in a cage, he see the beautiful spring in front of his eyes but he is unable to fly. The poet said he knows how the bird feels when he sees the splendid world in front of his eyes but he just unable to fly in it, when he is unable to do what he wants to do.
The second stanza is about the bird trying to break the bars of the cage to go out and fly back to his home. He beats his wing on the bars until he is bleeding. The old scars shows that he tried this many many times before because he really wants to go out of this cage and go to his home, and the poet knows why the bird beats his wings.
The third stanza is about the bird singing, but it is not a song of joy of glee but a prayer for he terribly wants to get his freedom back. He is asking god to get him out of this cage and set him free. He is asking god to help him to go back to his home with his freedom, and the poet knows why the caged bird sings, and that suggests that the poet has done like the bird.
The poem “Sympathy” reflects the feeling of a lot of people who has been through slavery and racism in their lives, in particular the African American of the 1800s. This poem reflects the feeling of these people in a way that makes the reader feels sympathy for them. In a way that moves the feeling of the reader and makes him/her feels sad and sorry for the bird or the slaves.
The caged bird, reading the word caged bird makes us see a bird locked in a cage and can't fly. That bird sees the brightness of the sun on the upland slopes, and the river flows beautifully like a stream of glass. He hears the other birds sing and sees the new flower opens and smells its beautiful smell spreads in that splendid world. This makes the bird feel sad because he can't fly in that wonderful world and be free, and makes us feel sorry for him.
Also, makes us think about a time that we were feeling the same as him, a time that we couldn't do whatever we want.
The bird beats his wings against the bars of the cage, he is beating and beating until he is bleeding because he wants to be free. We the readers see how the bird is trying harder and harder to achieve his goal, to be free, even if this is impossible. This makes us admire that caged bird for his strong attitude, and that, we should never give up to achieve our goals even if this goal is so hard and impossible to achieve. We should never lose hope even if the people around us tell us that we will never be able to achieve what we want.
“Till its blood is red on the cruel bars” this sentence is very painful, to imagine the blood of this poor bird is on the bars, its just so harsh and cruel, makes the reader feel painful depressed for the bird.
When we read this poem and see how the bird terribly wants to get to his home, makes us imagine that we got lost and stuck in a place which is far away from our home and we tried harder and harder to get out of this place and prayed to god to help us. We felt sad and painful in our heart because we couldn't get out out of this place and go to our restful home.
That's how the caged bird feels. That's why he is beating his wings against the cruel bars. That's why he sings and prays to god to help him in that situation. As all the slaves do to get out of their slavery.
Interpret
Figurative language and imagery
First stanza
The hole poem is a metaphor, the black people lost their freedom just like the caged bird, they have the feeling that the caged bird has. Not only the black people but also everyone who has been through slavery and lost their freedom.
“I know what the caged bird feels, alas” the poet is saying that he feels the same as the caged bird, alas is an expression to describe the sadness of the poet. The caged bird is a symbol of lack of freedom., also, its a metaphor for slaves and black people in the 1800s.
“and the river flows like a stream of glass” it's a simile, he is describing the river like the glass, he is showing the beauty of the flowing river and how its calm like the glass.
“when the bird sings and the first bud opes” here the poet is describing the splendid nature during the spring season, the birth of a new bird and new flowers. The spring is a symbol of hope and potential. This shows that no matter that the black people lost their freedom, but they still has hope they still looking forward for their goal which is having their freedom back.
“and the faint perfume from its chalice steals” this is a metaphor because the poet is comparing the smell of the new flowers with the smell of the chalice steels which is a drinking cup used by the Christians to serve the wine in the church.
“I know what the caged bird feels” the repetition f this line states that the poet and the bird are going through the same experience.
Line 2 -3 is visual imagery, line 5 is auditory “when the bird sings” and visual imagery “and the first bud opes”, and line 6 is olfactory imagery.

Interpret
Figurative language and imagery
Second stanza
Line 2 is visual imagery, it shows how the bird tried so hard to go out of his cage by beating his wings against the bars of the cage until his blood covers the cruel bars.
The cruel bars is a symbol of how hard is being a slave, or has no freedom, and the treatment is so cruel and harsh. The blood is also a symbol of how harsh the way they treated the black people in the 1800s and every other slave, they beat them them up until their blood is out of their body.
“For he must fly back to his perch or cling, When he fain would be on the bough a-swing” this line shows how desperately the bird wants to go back to his home on the tree, and how happy he would be swinging again on his branch.
“And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars, and they pulse again with a keener sting” the old scars shows how long the bird has been trying to get out of the cage, and how hard he tried so that the pain of these scars still throbs and even harder with the new scars he recently had. The bird has hope that one day he would be free even if this impossible, he is still trying harder and harder to break those bars, to be free.

Interpret
Figurative language and imagery
Third stanza
“when his wing is bruised and his bosom sore” his wing is bruised, shows how painful the birds feels after beating his wings against the bars, bosom is the breast, the center of emotions and feelings “bosom sore” shows how the bird is feeling painful for his wounds and sad and grief in his hear for he can't go out of that cage.
“it is not a carol of joy or glee, But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings” the poet is saying here that the free bird would sing because he happy as well as the free person, but for that bird, it's different. That bird is not singing like the other birds because he is happy, he is singing because he can't get out and be free. His songs are prayers for god asking him to sit him free, he is asking god from the very deep of his heart, this show how much the bird wants to get out of his cage. This a metaphor, because the poet is comparing the caged bird with the humans-being. The humans pray to god when they are in need as well as the caged bird; he is not singing but praying to god asking him to get him out of this cage.

I desire freedom
Like the bird desire the sky
Like the fish desire the stream
I beg for destiny
To present me a pair of wings
To escape
From the misery

If I am ever be freed
I shall find a peace of my own
I shall sore in the blue
I shall play in the cool
Oh, freedom! Freedom!
Will I ever possess you?

Desire
Ah! You abominable enemy
I will expose your hypocritical mask
Return peace to our home
Free the innocent from the cage

Ah me! Freedom!
You are the dream I dream
You are the anger I roar
You are the power of my fist
And you are the song I sing
From the depth of my heart
My soul can be completed
Only if I am with you!
Full transcript