Maya, who has been characterized as "a symbolic figure for every black girl growing up in America," transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex to a self-aware individual who responds to prejudice with dignity and a strong sense of her own identity during the course of Caged Bird. She rejects her former life of despair and humiliation and builds a new one making use of her talents as a poet and musician.
The poem expresses the idea that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. Even though most people will tell you otherwise, nothing good ever came from racism. However, this does not mean that racism is bad or wrong. It is merely a part of society's history that needs to be acknowledged and then moved on from. Although racism exists today in many forms, it is possible to overcome prejudice with determination and faith in oneself.
Maya Angelou's battle to identify her identity and self-worth in the face of racism, white dominance, and misogyny is central to Caged Bird. During this time period in America's history, it was not unusual for black women to be denied access to education, employment, or legal rights. When Maya is only eight years old, her father dies, leaving her mother to raise her siblings on her own.
Maya experiences many hardships as an adolescent and young adult. Although she graduates from high school, no colleges will grant her admission because there are no schools that allow black students to study literature. She works as a secretary, but is often treated with contempt by her white employers. One such incident leads to her being fired.
In 1968, just months before her 26th birthday, Maya publishes her first collection of poems, Why I Am Writing This Book. The following year, she finds work as a staff writer at Paris Review, where she writes about such diverse subjects as racism, sexism, and the Vietnam War. In 1974, after marrying physician Sherman Alexie, she moves with him to Seattle, Washington, where he can pursue advanced studies at the University of Washington.
While living in Washington, Maya begins work on her second book, which is published four years later.
In this poem, Maya Angelou compares the African Americans who are made victims of racism to the imprisoned bird, which has constraints on its movements and voice, and the white Americans to the free bird, who enjoys their freedom. The black person cannot do anything about the fact that they are treated as a slave or deprived of their rights. However, they can escape from their prison by thinking and acting like a free person. Similarly, the white people can also enjoy their freedom by treating others with respect even if they are not punished for their actions.
Maya Angelou was born on August 28th, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is an American poet, writer, and civil rights activist. The first book of poems that she published at the age of 29 was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which became a best-seller. Subsequently, several more books were released by her containing both poetry and prose.
In regard to this poem, Maya Angelou has said that it describes America's attitude toward blacks at the time when she wrote it in 1961. This poem is one of the many written by Angelou to protest against racial discrimination and injustice.
She also commented that the caged bird sings two songs: one which he sends into his cage and another which he hides from view.
Most people think that the caged bird is a metaphor for enslaved African Americans, which makes singing both literal (as in slave spirituals) and symbolic of desire for release and equality. Maya Angelou is a caged bird herself, and this poem is her "fearful chirp."
A comparison between the lives of a free bird and a caged bird is offered in Maya Angelou's poem. The free bird represents those who live in this world free of discrimination, whether racial, social, or psychological. It also refers to those who can sing like birds.
The caged bird is someone who has been given freedom but who chooses not to use it, instead choosing to be idle and wait for something to happen.
Maya Angelou was an American poet, writer, and civil rights activist. She wrote several books of poetry and prose, including I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Still I Rise. In addition to writing her own work, she became known for her speeches and essays that focused on African-American issues such as racism, sexism, and poverty. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014.
So the free bird and the caged bird are two different people who have similar lives. The free bird is alive and able to sing while the caged bird is dead.
Here is the full text of "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou:
He will come when you call him, even if you only call him once a day.
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" is a free verse poem written by Maya Angelou, an American poet and civil rights activist. The poem first appeared in 1969 in Ms. Magazine, and was later included in her collection Of Human Loving (1973).
Maya Angelou began writing poetry at the age of 14. She went on to receive several awards for her work, including the National Book Award, the PEN/Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Angelou became one of the most respected poets of our time, and her works have been translated into many languages.
In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou uses her own experiences as inspiration for the poem. The caged bird in the title refers to her childhood experience of watching birds in a South Carolina zoo. Although she was given access to all the food she wanted, she chose not to eat since it was taken away from her family during slavery times. This example shows that even though she had freedom, she still felt confined because of where she came from.
Angelou also mentions other people who were not free to come and go as they pleased include slaves, women, and children.