Comparing Caged Bird And Sympathy

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Caged Bird” a poem by Maya Angelou and “Sympathy” a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar are works of renowned African American poets that share striking similarities, but yet convey slightly different messages. Paul L. Dunbar’s “Sympathy” precedes Maya Angelou “Cage Bird” by 84 years. It was this poem that inspired the title to her first autobiography “I know why the Cage Birds Sings”. These two writers were from two different generations and utilize the same images of a bird in a cage to communicate their thoughts of life and freedom. Throughout their lifetime, both authors had incredible stories to tell in regards to their life triumphs, challenges, and struggles. Paul Dunbar was one of the first influential black poets in American Literature. Because of his race, he had grave difficulty trying to find work. He managed to find a job as an elevator operator which allowed him to continue his writing. Maya Angelou dealt with her share of racism along with other life changing events. At the age of 7, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. He was killed by some of her family members. After that, she went mute because she thought she was responsible for the death of her…show more content…
The bird is a representation of a slave who desires to have a new beginning and gain his freedom. “When the first bird sings and the first bud opens / I know what the caged bird feels,” (5,7)! These lines indicate the current season, which is spring. Spring is symbolic for new beginnings or a new life. The slave knows the feeling of not being able to enjoy his surrounding due to his imprisonment. Camille Roman, on the other hand, saw the bird as Paul fighting for his voice to be heard. Dunbar used to take care of books at the library of congress. Books written by white people occupied most of the bookshelves. After reading the article Roman wrote for “Sympathy”, her interpretation is

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