Literature Devices Used for Idea of Freedom in a Poem "Caged Bird"

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Poetry is the act of peace and unity in the world. The human condition explores the qualities of being a human and what we can do to our lives to make it more peaceful. Today I will be analysing one of the texts based on the human condition in relation to freedom. I will examine the poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou.

The poem “caged bird” by Maya Angelou shows evidence that it represents freedom and discrimination. It draws connection to a real-life situation where there is unfairness about different categories of people. The caged bird might be referred to a caged individual. In the poem it shows the bird is captured in a narrow cage and it being harshly treated. The captive bird wants to be free like a trapped individual wanting to speak. The tone of the text is that Angelou has struggled through being raped only at the age of 7 and her racial inequality, she wants the world to be aware of the discrimination of herself and maybe other people too and this should stop, everyone has the right to live their life how they want to. The poem starts off with a happy mood telling us that the bird was free and then the mood changed, since the bird is now trapped. Overall the message conveyed is to spread the idea that everyone deserves to be free and no one should lose hope, as evident in the poem the caged bird “sings for freedom”.

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In the poem the device personification helps us to state perception about the human condition. It conveys the message that there are many individuals around the world, who are locked, they can’t talk and they have no freedom. Angelou has suffered through this and has described the bird as herself, giving it human qualities. The quote “sings for freedom” on stanza 3 & 6 on the last lines emphasizes how the bird is trapped, and wants to be set free. All he can do is sing, he sings for freedom. The use of personification in the poem identifies how many struggles Angelou has been through in her life.

Another device used in the poem to express the human condition is a metaphor. The whole poem is emphasized as a metaphor. It is expressed by the title “caged bird” telling us that Angelou has been treated like how the caged bird is. This is evident in line 2 of stanza 5 as she states “shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”. The use of this metaphor suggests that she has been through many troubles through her life, she is showing us that the locked bird wants to be free. The meaning of the metaphor is to disclose us that the bird doesn’t go to sleep and that it is so frightened being locked up in a cage to spend the night highlighted as a nightmare. The poem identifies a trapped bird in opposite of an imprisoned bird in discomfort of freedom.

The last poetic device is demonstrated as imagery. In addition, imagery helps us paint a picture in our minds of how the scene actually looks like. The example from the text “narrow cage” evaluates in what condition the bird has to stay in every day, forgetting their dreams and desires. It creates an image of how the bird is treated, in other words, an individual held in a “narrow cage” suffering through their life. It is explored in the text that Angelou is explaining how the bird sees his life and how many other people do as well. It has been shown that the use of imagery has helped us created an image in our minds to detect how the bird is being treated throughout his life and how human condition links to the poem.

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