caged bird

View mindmap
  • Caged Bird
    • tone
      • deep authenticity informed by sadness and political injustice
    • structure
      • first 2 stanzas look similar, share irregular rhymes, regular iambic/ tetrameter in last line
      • rhymes and half rhymes often
      • metrical variation accelerates verse and generates momentum 'on the back of the wind' and ' the trade winds soft'
      • open 'ee' in first stanza- 'leaps'/ 'streams'
      • alliterative patterns add to echoic effects 'free'/ 'float'
      • each half of poem ends with same stanza repeated
    • content
      • a bird with clipped wings and tied feet has been placed in a cage to prevent it from flying away
        • despite its fear, the caged bird continues to sing of freedom.
      • Angelous describes a bird that is free, contrastingly, to choose where he flies
    • purpose
      • evokes pathos (empathy), emotionally political, injustice!
    • analysis
      • stanza three/ six
        • alternate rhyme- emphasises yearning, prayer of release
        • 'tune is heard'- music will escape the cage, carry far, communicate- possibility of future liberation. present tense= short wait?
        • parallel to black struggle in Angelou's time, wouldn't relent until human rights given
        • 'sings of freedom'- life of restriction, but in darkness the brighter a light seems, to those oppressed the more powerful the dreams of freedom
      • stanza two
        • 'but'- prepares reader for contrast, tone immediately changes from peaceful and satisfied to dark, unnerving, frustrating
        • bird symbol universalises the situation for different contexts of oppression
        • 'seldom see'- barely gets a glimpse of the sky, contrast
        • 'clipped'- like slaves on slave ships
      • stanza one
        • central contrast between 2 worlds
        • birds associated with freedom and singing
        • soft manner of natural forces of motion, world is gentle and relaxing
        • wind and stream provide bird's transport
        • 'floats', 'dips'-- dynamic verbs
        • natural beauty of sky,bird enjoying freedom
        • sound patterning= vibrant energy, freedom, exuberance, vitality, movement
      • stanza five
        • 'but'- interjection, reminder that freedom is prevented for some
        • 'grave of dreams'- nightmarishly dark world
        • 'scream- emotive, human-like suffering
        • 'so he opens his throat to sing'- repetition. can only sing of the freedom that the other bird ostentatiously enjoys (restraint). desire for freedom cannot be contained
      • stanza four
        • ecstasy and thrill contrasts with dull, oppressive 3rd and 5th stanzas
        • comfortable interaction with world
        • dawn- hope, new beginnings. lawn- nature domesticated for bird'e ease
        • fat worms waiting- food arranged conveniently
        • names the sky his own- above the world, God association


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all AQA Anthology resources »