A totally free bird leapkid the ago of the windand floats downstreamtill the current endsand dips his wingin the orange sun raysand also dares to case the skies.

You are watching: I know why the caged bird sings literary devices

But a bird that stalksdown his narrow cagecan seldom watch throughhis bars of ragehis wings are clipped andhis feet are tiedso he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird singswith a fearful trillof points unknownyet longed for stilland his tune is heardon the remote hillfor the caged birdsings of flexibility.

The cost-free bird thinks of another breezeand the profession winds soft via the sighing treesand also the fat worms waiting on a dawn bappropriate lawnand also he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreamshis shadow shouts on a nightmare screamhis wings are clipped and also his feet are tiedso he opens up his throat to sing.

The caged bird singswith a fearful trillof things unknownhowever longed for stilland his tune is heardon the remote hillfor the caged birdsings of liberty.



Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou (April 4, 1928 to May 28, 2014), well-known as Maya Angelou, was an Amerihave the right to author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil legal rights activist ideal well-known for her 1969 memoir, I Kcurrently Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-Amerideserve to woman. Angelou got several honors throughout her career, consisting of 2 NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary occupational (non-fiction) category, in 2005 and also 2009.

After experiencing health and wellness worries for a number of years, Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, at her house in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The news of her passing spread easily via many kind of world taking to social media to mourn and remember Angelou. Singer Mary J. Blige and also politician Cory Booker were among those who tweeted their favorite quotes by her in tribute. President Barack Obama also issued a statement around Angelou, calling her “a brilliant writer, a fierce frifinish, and also a truly phenomenal woguy.” Angelou “had actually the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have actually somepoint to offer,” he composed.





Racism and Segregation


Maya confronts the insidious effects of racism and segregation in America at an extremely young age. She internalizes the concept that blond hair is beautiful and that she is a fat babsence girl trapped in a nightmare. Stamps, Arkansas, is so thoroughly segregated that as a son Maya does not fairly think that white human being exist. As Maya gets older, she is confronted by more overt and individual incidents of racism, such as a white speaker’s condescending attend to at her eighth-grade graduation, her white boss’s insistence on calling her Mary, and also a white dentist’s refusal to treat her. The prominence of Joe Louis’s people championship boxing match to the black community reveals the dearth of publicly well-known Afrihave the right to Amerihave the right to heroes. It additionally demonstprices the despeprice nature of the babsence community’s hope for vindication via the athletic triumph of one guy. These unjust social realities confine and also demean Maya and also her loved ones. She comes to learn how the pressures of living in a thoaround racist culture have actually profoundly shaped the character of her household members, and she strives to surmount them.


Debilitating Displacement

Maya is shuttled about to seven various homes in between the ages of 3 and also sixteen: from California to Stamps to St. Louis to Stamps to Los Angeles to Oakland to San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Francisco. As expressed in the poem she tries to repoint out on Easter, the statement “I didn’t concerned stay” becomes her shield against the cold reality of her rootlessness. Besieged by the “tripartite crossfire” of racism, sexism, and also power, young Maya is belittled and also degraded at eincredibly revolve, making her unable to put down her shield and feel comfortable staying in one area. When she is thirteenager and moves to San Francisco through her mommy, Bailey, and Daddy Clidell, she feels that she belongs somewbelow for the initially time. Maya identifies through the city as a tvery own complete of disinserted civilization.

Maya’s personal displacement echoes the bigger societal pressures that displaced blacks all throughout the country. She realizes that countless various other terrified black kids made the same journey as she and also Bailey, traveling on their own to freshly affluent paleas in northern cities, or ago to southerly towns as soon as the North faicaused supply the economic prosperity it had actually promised. Afrideserve to Americans descfinished from servants who were disinserted from their houses and also homelands in Africa, and following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, blacks continued to battle to uncover their location in a nation still hostile to their heritage.

Resistance to Racism

Black peoples’ resistance to racism takes many kind of forms in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Momma maintains her dignity by seeing things realistically and also keeping to herself. Big Bailey buys flashy clothing and also drives an elaborate car to procase his worth and runs roughly via woguys to assert his masculinity in the challenge of dehumanizing and also emasculating racism. Daddy Clidell’s friends learn to usage white peoples’ prejudice versus them in elaborate and lucrative cons. Vivian’s family cultivates toughness and also creates connections to underground pressures that deter any kind of harassment. Maya first experiments through resistance once she breaks her white employer’s heirimpend china. Her bravest act of defiance happens when she becomes the first babsence streetauto conductor in San Francisco. Blacks likewise offered the church as a venue of subversive resistance. At the resurgence, the preacher offers a thinly veiled sermon criticizing whites’ charity, and also the community revels in the principle of white human being burning in hell for their actions.


I Kcurrently Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is arguably among the most relocating and eye opening poems ever before created. Angelou additionally composed an autobiography with this very same title, I Kcurrently Why the Caged Bird Sings. It is clear that this title had actually good meaning to Angelou, as it was the title to her whole life story. In her autobiography, she talked around the battle of being a babsence writer and poet. She regularly felt that her words were not heard bereason of the color of her skin. She felt that in some ways, she was still experiencing slaexceptionally. Although Afrihave the right to American civilization were totally free human being in Angelou’s time, tbelow were still many restrictions on them in culture, making it so that many babsence Americans did not feel complimentary at all. This poem, which deserve to be read in full right here, reveals the depth of those feelings.

First Stanza

She describes nature. She describes the method “a totally free bird leaps on the earlier of the wind”. She explains the bird’s flight versus the oselection skies. The totally free bird has the appropriate “to claim the sky”. The method she describes the “oarray sunlight rays” gives the reader an appreciation for the herbal beauty of the skies, and her summary of the means the bird “dips his wing” helps the reader to appreciate the bird in his herbal habitat, enjoying his liberty.

Second Stanza

This stanza is in stark comparison through the initially. By using the word “but” to begin this stanza, the speaker prepares the reader for this contrast. Then she describes the “bird that stalks his narrowhead cage”. The tone is automatically and also drastically adjusted from peaceful, satisfied, and joyful to one that is dark, unnerving, and also frustrating. She defines that this caged initially “deserve to rarely see through his bars of rage”. While the totally free bird gets to gain the full skies, the caged bird hardly ever even gets a glimpse of the sky. She claims that “his wings are clipped and also his feet are tied”. Text from her autobiography reveals that Angelou often felt this means in life. She felt limited from enjoying the flexibility that need to have actually been her ideal as a huguy being. The speaker then reveals that these are the incredibly factors that the bird “opens up his throat to sing”.

The writer felt this means in her own life. She composed and sang and also danced bereason it was her way of expushing her longing for freedom.

Third Stanza

The third stanza reverts earlier to the free bird, further cementing the difference in between the cost-free bird and also the caged bird in the minds of the readers. She writes that a free bird thinks of another breeze” that he can enjoy the “sighing trees” and be totally free to find his very own food. The tone via which she writes the initially and third stanzas so sharply contrasts through the second stanza, that readers have the right to feel the difference. The first and also third stanzas give the reader a feeling of ecstasy and thrill, which serve to make the second stanza seem all the even more droll and also also oppressive.

4th Stanza

The fourth stanza continues the parallel between the cost-free bird and the caged bird. The first line serves to starkly contrast the last line in the third stanza. It is dark and daunting. The reality of the life of the caged bird is revealed in this line. That bird, “stands on the grave of dreams”. This reveals the author’s feelings around her very own dreams. She has so many kind of desires that have actually passed away because she was never before offered the freedom to achieve all that her white countercomponents were able to accomplish. Discrimicountry and Racism comprised her cage, and although she sang, she felt her voice was not heard in the wide civilization, yet just by those nearemainder her cage. The second line of this stanza in not just dark, however even frightening. The speaker describes the bird’s cries as “shouts on a nightmare scream”. At this point, the caged bird is so despondent in his life of bondage that his screams are choose that of someone having a nightmare. The writer then repeats these lines:

“His wings are clipped and his feet are tied, So he opens his throat to sing.”

Reaffirming the principle that the bird opens his mouth to sing bereason his desire for liberty and his desire to expush himself cannot be contained.

Fifth Stanza

This last stanza concentrates on the caged bird yet aacquire. The writer indicates that even though the caged bird might have actually never skilled true liberty, deep dvery own that bird still knows that it was produced to be complimentary. Although liberty, to the caged bird, is “fearful” bereason it is “unknown”, he still sings “a fearful trill” bereason he still longed for liberty. Here, the speaker reveals that his cry for flexibility is “heard on the remote hill”. This parallels to the writer and her cry for freedom in the develop of equality. She feels that her cries are heard, but only as a soft background noise. She still feels that she is caged and also that although she sings, her cries are heard just as a remote noise.

The last line claims, “For the caged bird sings of freedom”. With this, the speaker suggests that although the caged bird may never have actually experienced liberty, he still sings of it bereason he was created for freedom. This is parallecaused the African Amerideserve to struggle in Maya Angelou’s time. She feels that babsence Americans composed and also sang and danced and also cried out for the liberty they deoffered, yet they were just heard as a remote voice. Yet, this would certainly not speak them from crying out for liberty and etop quality because they kbrand-new they were produced freedom, and also they would certainly not relent till they were given their rights as humans to gain the liberty they were created to gain.

Free bird symbolizes

In Maya Angelou’s poem “Caged Bird” she provides a juxtaposition a cost-free bird’s life with that of a caged bird. The complimentary bird symbolizes people that live in this people unencumbered by prejudice of any kind of form whether it be racial, socioeconomic, or mental.

Poetic Techniques

In “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou supplies a number of poetic tools including alliteration, imagery, and also symbolism. Alliteration, the repetition of consonant sounds, is used for focus on phrasing. An example from the poem contains “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”.



Imagery is supplied throughout Angelou’s job-related. Imagery is the author’s usage of words to produce a sensory suffer for the reader. For example, “the caged bird sings with a fearful trill” helps us almost hear the unpleasant sound of the bird’s cry. Another example from the poem is “and the profession winds soft via the sighing trees” offers a much more pleasant auditory experience for the reader.

See more: How To Spell Philippians In The Bible, How To Say Philippians



Symbolism is an item or event in a poem that represents somepoint beyond itself. Symbolism is the most powerful poetic tool used in “Caged Bird.” Angelou’s comparison of the “free bird” and the “caged bird” represents people who are “free” as opposed to “caged” in some way. The “caged” individuals might be hosted back by beliefs or fears or also others that are holding them back or enslaving them in some way. Angelou portrays the “free bird” as one who has the confidence to “insurance claim the skies.” In contract, the “caged bird” is connected via “the grave of dreams” and “a nightmare scream”. Alliteration, imagery, and symbolism are all provided by Angelou to produce this timeless poem.