I know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
Dr.Maya Angelou, one of the greatest voices in contemporary literature, is an African-American poet, memoirist, educator, historian, best- selling author, actress, dramatist, civil rights activist, film maker, director and teacher. She won international recognition with the publication of ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’. This poem expresses the African American’s intense longing for freedom. Angelou uses the metaphor for a bird struggling to escape its cage as a central image throughout her autobiographical fiction. But in this poem the caged bird sings of freedom. As a black woman she has encountered racial discrimination, segregation and domination. She is an optimist and the companion of Martin Luther King fighting for the Civil Rights movement in the USA and achieved what they dreamed.
Maya Angelou says that a free bird leaps on the back of the wind floats in the blue sky enjoying the pleasures of life. The free bird stands for the white people leading luxurious life and dreaming of new business fields and colonies in order to exploit the poor countries in the world to reap maxim profit. But a bird walks steady in its narrow cage. The caged bird’s wings are clipped and its feet are chained up. So the bird opens his throat to sing of freedom. The caged bird stands for the Black people who live in misery, poverty and sorrow, waiting centuries for their God given birth rights such as equality, citizenship rights and freedom.
The caged bird sings with painful sound of the things unknown such as equality, liberty and fraternity. The bird’s song is heard far way beyond the distant hills and valleys. The free bird enjoys the freedom and flies in the depth of the infinite blue sky thinking of new opportunities and planning to set up new colonies in order to reap more profits and pleasures of life.
But the caged bird stands of the grave of dreams. The Black had been working hard as slaves for the white people for centuries. They built up modern cities in various parts of America, made railways, bridges, towers and skyscrapers, but still lives in the slums and ghettos. Everywhere they are rejected and unwanted because they see the boards ‘For whites only’ in the restaurants, buses and buildings. They have no opportunity for education or employment and live in poverty and sorrow. So the caged bird sings of things unknown to him and he sings of equality, liberty and fraternity. Kjt/16-02-2016