How has the poet conveyed the idea of inequality in her poem ÃÂCaged BirdÃÂ? How has she made this contrast vivid for the reader?The poet, during the whole poem contrasts two very different realities; the caged birdÃÂs and the free birdÃÂs. By alternating the stanzas in the poem, she makes it easier for the reader to compare both birds. The birds throughout the poem are actually an extended metaphor to the conditions of men, some free, some ÃÂcagedÃÂ.
When describing the free bird, she uses words like ÃÂleapsÃÂ and ÃÂfloatsÃÂ.
By using the phrase ÃÂleaps on the back of the windÃÂ she makes an allusion to the childrenÃÂs game ÃÂleap frogÃÂ, by making allusion to this game, the author compares the free bird with a child, with no duties and nothing to be stuck to.
The word ÃÂfloatsÃÂ, when used in describing the way the free bird flies shows that the bird is just there, flying with no duties and preoccupations.
He is just flying.
In contrast to leaping and floating, the caged bird is said to ÃÂstalkÃÂ. This word gives a very different impression to the actions of the caged bird, in comparison to the free birdÃÂs. As he ÃÂstalks down his narrow cageÃÂ he cannot do the same as the free bird. He is stuck to the ground and has no freedom at all.
The free bird is said to float ÃÂin the orange sunÃÂs raysÃÂ. This sentence brings up an image to the readers head of a cozy, warm day, with the sun shining peacefully upon some hills and also the bird flying, floating amongst the clouds.
When talking about the bird, the poet uses an impactful phrase, she says the caged bird can ÃÂseldom see through his bars of rageÃÂ and this means the bird rarely sees more than the bars of his cage. This brings to the reader an image of a lonely bird, singing in the dark corner of a dark room.
By using the expression ÃÂbars of rageÃÂ the poet can mean two things.
First, the bars could contain or be made of rage, which doesnÃÂt let the bird be free.
Another way the ÃÂBars of rageÃÂ can be interpreted is, possibly, as the birds rage; the bars are maybe imaginary and what imprisons him is his own rage.
Another comparison the poet makes is the caged bird has his ÃÂwings clipped and his feet tiedÃÂ. This wont let him fly and wonÃÂt let him walk. He is chained to the cage so soon, maybe wonÃÂt be free at all.
The free bird however, has ÃÂfat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawnÃÂ , he has available food wherever and whenever he wishes to. This can be said metaphorically to compare the rich people who can eat whatever they wish at any time at all, with the less fortunate people who struggle to find a piece of bread.
All the comparison the poet makes are to compare the two different situations of life where on side can be considered free and the other side, caged.
The author says: ÃÂhis feet are tied so he opens his throat to singÃÂ. By using the word ÃÂsoÃÂ, the impression that is given is that as the bird has nothing else to do, he sings. This situation is similar to the African slaves that had their own ÃÂwork songsÃÂ to encourage them to keep working, even when suffering.
In the poem, songs are used as encouragement, used to give strength to the ÃÂcagedÃÂ people.
Another interesting thing the author says about the free bird is he ÃÂdares to claim the skyÃÂ. This is said in the first stanza. In the next stanza the author talks about the free bird, he says ÃÂand he names the sky his ownÃÂ meaning the free bird wanted something and got it.
In contrast, the caged bird is said to ÃÂopens his throat to singÃÂ and then ÃÂsings of freedomÃÂ therefore, he is still locked up.
When the poet talks about the free bird, the stanzas are very different, each one giving continuity to the previous one, this is not the same with the caged birdÃÂs stanzas. They are very repetitive; stanzas 2 and 5 end with ÃÂso he opens his throat to singÃÂ and stanzas 3 and 6 are exactly the same. These repetitions of phrases and stanzas are made to emphasize the contrast between the two birds and the lack of action in the caged birdÃÂs reality.
The caged bird continues in the same situation he started, even though what he wanted was much less than the free bird wanted.
Source: IGCSE poetry anthology 2008