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Essay i know why the caged



Angelou does not allow meter, rhyme, and stanza to control her poetry. She determines her own structure—or lack of it—and uses form and device for her own means; she searches for the sound, the tempo, the rhythm, and the rhyme appropriate for each line.

“Caged Bird” is an example of unstructured verse. The number of beats per line varies; for example, line 1 has four beats, line 2 has six, line 3 has four, and line 4 has five. The number of lines in each stanza fluctuates as well; stanzas 1 and 2 have seven lines each, but stanzas 3 and 4 have eight. In addition to her use of the intermittent stanza, Angelou repeats stanza 3 as stanza 5; this repetition is reminiscent of the chorus in a song. The only other structuring device that Angelou employs in the thirty-eight lines is sporadic rhyme. For instance, only lines 9 and 11 in the entire first two stanzas use rhyming words (“cage” and “rage”); in the fourth stanza only lines 30 and 31 rhyme (“breeze” and “trees”). The only other rhyming words that Angelou uses—and at her own discretion—are in the third stanza, which she repeats as stanza 5. She rhymes “trill” and “still” with “hill”; she also rhymes “heard” and “bird.”

The repetition of the third stanza gives some predictability to the poem and allows the reader to participate actively in the unpleasant plight of the caged bird. By contrast, other parts of the poem are unpredictable and at times even pleasurable; the joy of the free bird makes it possible for the reader to bear the tragic story of the oppressed.

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Certainly, there is a poignancy to this poem. Much like Paul Dunbar's poem, "Sympathy," in which he writes, "I know why the caged bird sings," Maya Angelou continues this motif of the caged bird.
  • Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” is built around a metaphor that contrasts the condition of a free bird with a caged bird. There are several important things about the way this particular metaphor.
  • When an author creates imagery, he or she uses words that create a mental picture in the reader's mind. Only sensory words can create mental images; therefore, imagery concerns any words or phrases.
  • Maya Angelou’s poem Caged Bird, like all poetry, makes use of several literary elements. A quick reading reveals the usual poetic emphasis on rhyme, metrical consistency, imagery, and.
  • Maya Angelou uses a myriad of poetic devices in "Caged Bird," including metaphor, rhyme, imagery, alliteration, personification, and repetition. In the poem, Angelou employs these poetic devices to.

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