Running head: EXPLICATION OF MAYA ANGELOU’S CAGED BIRD 1
Explicationof Maya Angelou’s CagedBird
Explicationof Maya Angelou’s CagedBird
MayaAngelou is undeniably one of the literary icons of modern literature.Angelou has a unique style of utilizing stylistics and poeticelements of realism making her literary oeuvres masterpieces. Unlikeother poets, Angelou does not permit meter, rhyme among other devicesto determine the flow and pattern of her work. She has a unique stylewhich she combines from and constant to suit the intended audience.Each line in most of Angelou’s poems has its sound tempo and rhyme.Maya Angelou is able to capture the predicament of the free bird andthe caged bird through imagery bringing out the fate of the femalefigures in most societies. The intent of this paper is therefore tohighlight the plight of the woman as articulated in Angelou’s cagedbird.
Anexplicit example of a poem with an unstructured verse which Angelouexposes in her poetry is CagedBird(Angelou, 1993). It is evident that the patterns of the stanzas vary.For instance, there is no clear rhyming in the first stanza, but itflows almost like a song. Apart from the irregular rhyme scheme, thenumber of words that constitute each line fluctuate with each stanzahaving a unique number of lines. Evidently, verse 1 and two arecomposed of seven lines while from 3rd to 4th stanza there are eightlines. The use of intermittent stanzas where each stanza has aunique number of lines makes her poems unique. Another style thatAngelou uses in the cagedbirdis repetition.
Repetitionserves to emphasize the message being articulated in the poem. In thecagedbird, Angelou repeats stanza 3 and four which in turn contribute torefrain and ultimate rhythm in the poem. This form of repetitiongives the poem a sense of authenticity and realism. Angelou alsoutilizes the aspects of sporadic rhyme in the poem. She uses anunpredictable rhyme scheme that is irregular. An irregular rhymescheme keeps the reader thinking about the succeeding events thattake place in the poem. In the first and second stanza, for instance,only lines 9 and 11 rhyme, with the words“cage” and“rage.”Additionally, only 30 and 31st lines rhyme in the fourthstanza (“trees” and “breeze”). Angelou uses sporadic rhymescheme so as to make sure that the work is as objective as possible.With an irregular rhyme scheme, the reader is left with theopportunity to decide and interpret his or her message individually.The unpredictable nature of the poem makes the work pleasurable. Thejoy of the bird being elucidated allows the reader to acknowledge thepredicament of the caged bird that is oppressed and denied rights.
Whenone keenly looks at the message of the poem, it is clear that thepoem`s intent is to contrast the menace of the free bird with therights bestowed upon the free bird. Through imagery, Angelou presentsthe plight of many people especially women. She considers the femalegender subjected to torture and societal discrimination acrossdifferent spheres of life. Notably, Angelou was a feminist, and as aresult, most of her work centers on attempting to give the woman asense of recognition (Evans, 2014). By contrasting the caged bird andthe free bird, Angelou strives to reveal the plight of women throughan in-depth scrutiny of the viable life that a woman lives if sheacquires freedom. The CagedBirdis an embodiment of the downtrodden woman. Over the last few decades,most societies perceived male dominance as the defining factor withinthe community (Evans, 2014). In a way, the men should be superior totheir female counterparts.
Accordingto most indigenous societies, the role of the woman was to give birthto as many children as possible. A woman was seen as a sex objectwhose purpose in life was to satisfy the male gender and give birthto children. Angelou, therefore, seeks to bring to the attention ofthe modern society that women deserve the opportunity to achievetheir full potential and need to be accorded a chance to exploit andseize different possibilities presented in life just like their malecounterparts. The free bird as evident in the poem reveals thepotential of the woman to succeed. The free bird has the freedom tofly all over and take part in different activities. The free bird is,therefore, used metaphorically to depict that when women are grantedthe required freedom and the society recognize them as equal to theirmale counterparts, they have the ability to exploit their potentialand succeed in life. The poem, therefore, articulates the change thatneeds to be invested upon the female gender to ensure that both menand woman are given equal opportunities in life.
Throughimagery, Angelou brings out the consequences of oppression and desirefor freedom and how oppression and freedom affect the lives of peoplein the society. Notably, it takes the reader’s curiosity andattention to be able to decipher the meaning of the poem. Unlikeother poets who use easy to comprehend metaphors, Angelou usesintense imagery thereby putting the reader into deep thoughts aboutthe articulated message. In a nutshell, Angelou’s unique style ofcomposing poems is undeniably effective and suitable for presentingreal life situations in a metaphorical manner.
Angelou,M. (1993). CagedBird.NewYork: Bantam Books.
Evans,R. (2014). Maya Angelou`s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings And theAdvantages of a Pluralist Close Reading. CLAJournal,58(1/2), 36-47