Analysis of "Caged Bird"- A poem written by Maya Angelou

The Analysis of Caged Bird is provided below by first giving a brief description on the background followed by the poem structure and its meaning.

The Background
The African-American author and poet; Maya Angelou came up with this poem titled "Caged Bird" in 1969. Actually, the title of the poem is also part of an autobiography written by the Maya in the same year. The title of the book is "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings". Maya also had other 5 autobiographies that recalled her early childhood and early adult experiences. The poem and the autobiographies have the same message to put across.

The Structure
"Caged Bird" is written in 6 stanzas of varying lengths. There’s no definite rhyme scheme in the poem. However, some rhymes are noticed in stanzas 2, 3, 4 and 5. The 6th stanza is simply a repetition of the 3rd stanza. The sentence structure and vocabulary used in the poem are simple and straight. All the stanzas alternate between the caged bird and the free bird used all over the poem.

The Meaning
The poem is written with several metaphors. It also represents several thoughts, themes and ideas. It talks about two birds; one is trapped in a cage while the other flies freely in the sky. The caged bag is said to represent the African American individual who is enslaved while the free bird represents the White American who is completely free.
Basically, the poem tries to portray the racial segregation that existed between a true White or Caucasian individual and an African American individual in the past. The poet paints a true picture of racial discrimination that used to be the order of the day in the American nation. She portrays how the Whites dominate the Black Americans. The poet showed herself as the trapped bird which was caged and barred from having her freedom.

Aside from the caged and free birds, there are other metaphors used in the poem. The breeze and fat worms in the poem represent hope and opportunity. The poet portrays a great future and hope for the trapped bird irrespective of its present condition. The bird is expected to persevere in hope and never to quit since the future spells freedom and greatness for it.

Indeed, "Cage Bird" as a poem depicts the actual racial discrimination that existed between the White and Black races in the US, South Africa and elsewhere. It portrays the ugly effects of racism and gives hopes to the black race that has suffered a lot because of the issue. So far, the brighter hope forecast for the trapped bird in the poem has continued to be realized in the world today. The issue of racial discrimination has been abolished. The black people have regained their freedom. They have continued to overcome the dominance of the whites both in the US and elsewhere in the world.