In the poems "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou and "Como Tú / Like You / Like Me" by Richard Blanco, explain how each poem illustrates a situation that might cause a good person to act in a bad way.

"Como Tú / Like You / Like Me" is about exclusion, which might cause the excluded person to return the hostility of the community by preying upon its members. "Caged Bird" is about incarceration. Lack of freedom prevents one from acting at all, for good or ill. When a situation arises in which one can act, there is no motive for, or training in, self-control or altruism.

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Richard Blanco's poem "Como Tú / Like You / Like Me" is addressed to all the immigrants in the United States of America. It explores the pains and challenges of living in a country that often seems hostile, "this dream of a country I didn’t choose, that didn’t choose me—trapped in the nightmare of its hateful glares." The immigrant, Blanco says "can't fully claim either" their country of origin, or the country in which they now live.

This sense of alienation could easily cause the immigrant to return the hostility they feel, perhaps in the form of violence. They have no stake in the country, and therefore nothing to lose. Theft, physical abuse, and even murder are all made more likely when people feel exclusion from the community, since someone who is treated with contempt and hostility is less likely to feel any compunction about preying on those who treat them like this.

Maya Angelou's poem "Caged Bird" describes an even more extreme situation. The caged bird is deprived not only of community, but of freedom and agency. The moral effects of this are all too clear. If you are placed in a position where you cannot exercise any agency, for good or ill, then you will never learn self-discipline or self-control, much less altruism. You cannot do anything good, because you cannot do anything at all. Once you attain the power of agency, therefore, you are much more likely to use it in a hostile and destructive manner, preying on and harming others, since you have never learned another way.

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