The Theme of Freedom in Poetry Essay

The Theme of Freedom in Poetry Essay

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The Theme of Freedom in Poetry

Write about three poems on freedom: On Liberty and Slavery (George
Moses Horton), Sympathy (Paul Laurence Dunbar) and Caged Bird (Maya
Angelou).

I have chosen to write about three poems on freedom: On Liberty and
Slavery (George Moses Horton), Sympathy (Paul Laurence Dunbar) and
Caged Bird (Maya Angelou). The full text of the poems is attached. I
chose these three poems because the subject matter appealed to me and
I believe that the poems convey their meaning very effectively. Upon
researching the poems, I discovered that Caged Bird was in fact
inspired by Sympathy, which accounts for the similarities in language
and imagery, as outlined below. All three poems deal with the subject
of freedom using the imagery of birds; On Liberty and Slavery is
narrated as a human plea for freedom, and makes reference to birds in
that context, whereas Caged Bird and Sympathy both use the imagery of
caged birds to explore the theme of loss of freedom. The symbolism of
birds is used to depict freedom, as birds are essentially without
constraints; in comparison to the limitations of humans, they have
limitless possibilities. When a bird is caged, however, it loses that
potential and is restricted not by its own limitations, but the limits
set by another. This image is explored within the poems to depict the
theme of slavery.

On Liberty and Slavery
----------------------

On Liberty and Slavery is an example of a metaphysical poem; it deals
with the concept of freedom using direct, personal language and
contemporary allusions. The rhythm used in the poem is taken from the
rhythm of Wesley's hymns; Charles Wesley was the brother of John
Wesley (founder of the Methodists) and hymn wri...


... middle of paper ...


...ten by Himself (1845)

Sherman JR: The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and
His Poetry Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (1997)

Rice, A: Radical Narratives of the Black Atlantic, Continuum: New York
(2003)

Sapphire: Black Wings and Blind Angels, Payback Press: Edinburgh
(2001)

McCarthy K: bittersweet, The Women's Press Ltd (1998)

Secondary Sources:

www.poets.org.uk (03/05/2004)

http://docsouth.unc.edu/hortonlife/horton.htm (04/05/2004)

http://www.christian-bookshop.co.uk/free/biogs/cwesley.htm
(07/05/2004)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/audiointerviews/profilepages/angeloum2.shtml
(07/05/2004)
---------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Sherman JR The Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton
and His Poetry Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (1997)

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