Firstly, Maya Angelou uses symbolism to effectively achieve her purpose of illustrating that despite being repressed, one still longs for freedom. Angelou uses many symbols through her literature, the title of her first autobiography even being one. The symbol of a caged bird represents her growing up throughout the book. The cage represents the racism and sexism that traps her from having access to many opportunities. Angelou is the bird who is trapped behind the cage of hate. She states, “The Black female is assaulted in her tender years by all those common forces of nature at the same time that she is caught in the tripartite crossfire of masculine prejudice, white illogical hate and Black lack of power” (Angelou 272). The acts of hate and prejudice she experiences due to her race and sex upset Angelou. She longs for equal opportunity where she can exist without the burden of discrimination. Similar to a caged bird, she longs for freedom by “singing” about the unfairness of it all and tries to escape the cage by acts of defiance. For example, Angelou, “let [her employer’s prized cups] fall on the tiled floor” (110), after her employer is blatantly racist to her. She uses this symbol in order to convey the complex emotions of being oppressed. The symbol of a caged bird highlights her pain ...
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...onging for this event to take place through the great detail in which she describes the imaginary encounter.
Maya Angelou in I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings uses narration in order to successfully execute her purpose of exhibiting the idea that one still cries for liberation, even when being hopelessly repressed through symbolism and imagery. A person deprived of fundamental rights cannot achieve their full potential. Limitations and boundaries act as fences to success. As the title suggests, Angelou lives as a caged bird throughout her life, racism and other hardships she encounters being the bars. The cage stunts the success of the bird: Maya Angelou and oppressed beings. Angelou crafts images and symbols of the oppression she encounters in order to show the extent in which she felt trapped. Her feelings of entrapment lead to her unhappiness and longing for change.
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