Blackout Poem – “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Sean Hruswicki
English 11
18 December 2017
Mr. Barazzuol

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, Poem Analysis

The poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, by Maya Angelou, is denotatively about a bird that is in cage, restricted, watching other birds outside fly around with no restriction. Connotatively this poem is about how black people are oppressed and have restrictions that white people do not. black Poole in this poem are represented by the caged bird, and white people are represented by the free bird. The theme of this poem is oppression and restrictions, and how oppressed people had nothing but their voice to protest. To put this into a thematic statement we could say: your voice is your most powerful weapon. Violent protests from black people in America never worked, but when revolutionaries like Martin Luther King fame along, they got social reform by using their voice instead of violence. Three poetic devices in this poem are: Allusion, personification, and rhyme. The birds in this poem allude to the different races, the free bird referring to whites and the Caged Bird referring to black people. When it is said that the birds sing it is personification because the birds are given a human trait. There is also rhyme in this poem. Ex.

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

The rhyme scheme in this stanza is ABABBABA. This poem is significant because it represents to much move than just birds flying around. It has a very deep connotative meaning.