Both the free bird and the caged bird in Maya Angelou's poem are self-aware, because they both entertain no illusions about who they are. The free bird is free and enjoys the benefits of that to the fullest. The caged bird knows that it is imprisoned and resents it. Whatever those characteristics mean or symbolize, the birds both understand their situations.
The poem itself is self-aware, too, because it portrays the feelings of the birds realistically. The free bird doesn't question its place in life at all, since it already has everything it wants. It soars and takes everything it sees, mostly because it can. There isn't anything particularly malicious about it—the free bird doesn't think about the caged bird at all. With this, the author is drawing attention to the fact that people who are born into freedom don't often think about those who are not.
The caged bird, meanwhile, longs to be free. The hate that it feels doesn't seem to be directed at the free bird but at the unnatural...
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