Would it be correct to say that one of the themes of the POEM "Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angleou would be freedom?please explain why.  I think the poem shows the theme freedom in that the...

Would it be correct to say that one of the themes of the POEM "Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angleou would be freedom?

please explain why.  I think the poem shows the theme freedom in that the caged bird posses his freedom in doing as he pleases, yet the caged bird finds his freedom in his singing.

Asked on by kerrierg

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The strongest aspect of the poem is that it suggests that there is an irrepressible desire to construct one's sense of self despite trying conditions.  This is something that is not only dominant in the poem, but also quite persuasive in its own right.  The bird must sing, must construct an identity based on its own freedom and sense of self.  It must do this even though it faces trying conditions.  Similar to Angelou herself,  there are challenges faced by the bird that, while difficult, do not disparage him from constructing a new sense of self that is different from what is.  It is this power of freedom that is transformative enough to change what is to what should be.  For example, note the "narrow cage" along with the clipped wings and the rage that is present.  These are elements that, by themselves, could thwart someone's freedom or the desire to use it.  Yet, these do not deter the bird from singing a new song, constructing a new sense of self, and utilizing the freedom that is rightfully is in changing his state of being in the world.

lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I agree with your assessment. I believe the caged bird is a metaphor for anyone who is trapped by life's circumstances and is able to overcome them.

Maya was trapped by the circumstances of her life, but in spite of the circumstances, she survived and was able to sing in her soul. That is why she understands how a bird that is trapped in a cage can sing. The bird may be in a cage, but he does not let his surroundings define who he is. He has hope, so he sings. There is something else that he lives for, outside of the cage, outside of himself even. He is able to transcend the confines of the cage and be happy, just as Maya was able to transcend the confines of her life and find joy.

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