Poems are literary forms that use rhythmic and aesthetic qualities of languages. They often use ambiguity, irony symbolism among other stylistic devices which leave the poem to numerous interpretations. Some poems may be specific to particular cultures, religions or genres. This paper intends to analyze Maya Angelou’s poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. The paper shall also highlight the themes addressed in the poems, use of symbolism, and the message of the poem.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography of Maya Angelou that he uses to explore various themes of racism, rape, literacy and identity (Angelou, 2013). His treatment of racism does provide a thematic unity in his book. Symbolism has been used in the lines below.
“I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore."
The caged bird is symbolically used to imply the life of a young Maya Angelou who experiences racism and is abandoned by his father. The caged bird is simply the life of a victim of racism struggling with the oppression of racists. Rape in the poem metaphorically symbolizes the suffering of the black race.
The poem communicates the message of the struggles by the oppressed blacks who experience racism. Maya uses his autobiography to emphasize the identity of literacy, rape and racism as major society issues in their time. He communicates strongly the plight of the racism victims that he is part.
“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill”
The above lines communicate how Maya refuses to speak out after his rape due to fear. This is communicating the problems that many go through in silence as victims of racism (Angelou, 2013). Angelou Maya's poem thus tackles various themes and uses stylistic devices such as symbolisms to bring out certain message to his audience.
Angelou, Maya. Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well: Poems. Random House LLC, 2013.