Blackout Poem- “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

In the poem, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou, contains both a connotative and denotative meaning. The literal poem is about a caged bird that sings, because its voice is the only thing left that it has due to all the restrictions. The caged bird cries to get someone’s attention and recognition, while the free bird gets to fly and do what it pleases to, but the caged bird never gives up and keeps singing for the hope of being free. The connotative behind the poem is actually about the black slaves in the United States, during the civil rights movements. The caged bird represents the African Americans that were lacking human rights at the time, while the free bird represents the Caucasians. It is saying that the Black Americans are struggling to get their point across the White people who aren’t recognizing their problems, but the Black Americans don’t stop using their voice to make a change to their unfair situation. The title is significant, because Maya Angelou was a African American women, who experienced the racism and understood the feeling of being restricted. The whole poem is basically a metaphor, because it contains a different connotative meaning behind it. End rhyme is seen in the poem in the parts “still” and “hill”. Near rhyme is also used im “breeze” and “trees”. Personification is present when the author describes the caged bird’s shadow shouts on a nightmare. It is personification because a shadow doesn’t shout. This poem contains a deeper meaning that can help us reflect on the historical mistakes that we’ve made in the past, and understand how the Black Americans felt on a more personal level.

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