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Poetry Explication (Caged Bird by Maya Angelou)

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ashli white

on 30 April 2013

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Transcript of Poetry Explication (Caged Bird by Maya Angelou)

Poetry Explication by Ashli White Caged Bird by Maya Angelou Caged Bird by Maya Angelou is a lyrical poem that uses two different kinds of birds to represent two different kinds of people in the society. Angelou talks about how the free bird doesn't have a care in the world, but she also talks about how the caged bird longs that someday he will be free. 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. Poet's Theme Pictures Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
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 distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

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.
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