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Sympathy Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

It would be intolerable to imagine if it were a human caged in a wired mesh without the freedom to move. The caged bird does not fly, nor does it have time to meet other birds. It can be related being locked in a prison. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, ‘Sympathy’, the piece describes the misery of a bird that is caged. The poem figures the bird singing and flapping its wings, normally, one might think the bird is happy, but this is not the case. The bird flaps and sings not as a way of depicting its joy but because of it in misery.

The poem is more than what it depicts, it is more than a caged bird, and the author uses the caged bird to express the central message of the poem (lack of freedom). The poet starts the poems by ascertaining that he knows “how the caged bird feels,” the rest of the piece is a description of how the birds life is terrible. However, the poet is not addressing a real bird, nevertheless, the bird acts as a metaphor to the speaker’s lack of freedom and oppression. The author is the caged bird poem is an African American and the poem proves to have been written during the last period of the nineteenth century. This translates to the reason behinds the writing of the poem. It would perhaps the caged bird is a metaphorical representation of the African American people who were toured during the addition, the imagery used by the author (caged bird) is a representation of the manner life is when one is denied his or her freedom. In addition, the experiences flaws throughout the poem, it is undeniable to claim that there is no fun.

Works Cited

Dunbar, Paul Laurence. “Sympathy.” Poetry of the Negro 1476–1970 (1970).

Richardson, Laurel. “The consequences of poetic representation.” Investigating subjectivity: Research on lived experience (1992): 125-137.

Williamson, George. A reader’s guide to TS Eliot: a poem-by-poem analysis. Syracuse University Press, 1998.



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