The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.
Read the above lines and answer the question that follow.
Explain with reference to the context.
These lines are taken from the poem, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ written by Mary Angelou. The theme of the poem is the suffering of African- Americans and the contrast of slavery versus freedom. Maya Angelou’s 1983 poem “Caged Bird” compares the plight of a caged bird to the flight of a free bird. Many readers have interpreted Angelou’s poem as an extended metaphor with the caged bird representing the historical struggles of African Americans.
This last stanza focuses on the caged bird yet again. The author implies that even though the caged bird may have never experienced true freedom, deep down that bird still knows that it was created to be free. Although freedom, to the caged bird, is “fearful” because it is “unknown”, he still sings “a fearful trill” because he still longs for freedom. Here, the speaker reveals that his cry for freedom is “heard on the distant hill”. The last line states, “For the caged bird sings of freedom”. With this, the speaker implies that although the caged bird may never have experienced freedom, he still sings of it because he was created for freedom. This is paralleled to the African American struggle in Maya Angelou’s time. She feels that black Americans wrote and sang and danced and cried out for the freedom they deserved, but they were only heard as a distant voice. Yet, this would not stop them from crying out for freedom and equality because they knew they were made for freedom, and they would not relent until they were given their rights as human beings to enjoy the freedom they were created to enjoy.