Blackout Poem – “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

The poem, I Know why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou can be interpreted as a poem about freedom of the oppressed people. The speaker talks of two birds: one free and one caged. One bird can roam through the sky as he wishes, taking any route, whereas the other bird is caged “his feet are tied”, “his wings are clipped” and “The caged bird sings”, this bird cannot do as he wishes, and all he can do is sing, (Angelou 12-13). The connotative manner to interpret these stanzas is that the bird, whom can fly anywhere he wishes, is Caucasian people in the US of A, whereas the caged bird is the African Americans of the US of A, whom can only talk to express their oppression. The thematic statement apparent throughout the poem is that even if one cannot moved, no one can oppress your voice or your opinion, “The caged bird sings/ with a fearful trill/ of things unknown” and “his wings are clipped and/ his feet are tied/ so he opens his throat to sing” (Angelou 15-17, 12-14). These two quotes represent the thematic statement, because they are stripped of all their physical rights, but there are no ways to take away someone’s opinion. Repetition or refrain can be seen in the poem to emphasize the multitude of the situation that African Americans feel. There is also various moments where we can see personification, “his shadow shouts” (Angelou 28). Maya Angelou uses a lot of imagery throughout the poem, “free bird” and “caged bird”, are the two most obvious uses of imagery, each signifying people with no restrictions and people with restrictions. I Know why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou is very informative on how oppressed African Americans felt towards the way they were treated before they had the same rights as everyone else.

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