AP English and composition
23 MAY 2014
”This was probably my real father; found each other at last. But then he rolled over leaving me in a wet place and stood up.” (Angelou, 71) A multi award winning author and poet, whom once did not speak for many years. With the many poems Maya Angelou has written, three of her most famous poems seem to have a similar symbolism. “Caged Bird”, “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I rise” all deal with her different thoughts and individuality against the standards of society. Maya Angelou uses her past experiences and her thoughts as a symbol of being trapped in the image of society.
Maya Angelou was born April 28, 1928, in St Louis, Missouri. Angelou encountered many life difficulties and had to find alternatives to deal with them rather than being imprisoned in her own mind. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African American family, community, and culture. She was raised with her grandmother trying to cope with the emotional trauma of her mother’s boyfriend raping her. No one could deal with the mental state Angelou was in, so she had to move to Arkansas. Angelou’s secretly admired a childhood mentor, Mrs. Flowers. Mrs Flowers reminded
Slavery lasted for nearly two centuries. As a slave, it was very important that the slave’s spirit be broken so he can never even think about rebelling against his master. The chains prevented him from his freedom, he “can seldom see through his bars of rage” (Angelou). Often, the slave sang a song, for comfort, or for a potential gateway of freedom. Some readers say that “Caged Bird” is written as a reference towards slaves, and the difference between a “Free Bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream”(Angelou) whereas a “Caged Bird sings for a fearful trill of things unknown”(Angelou). Angelou uses herself as a symbol of being trapped in “Caged...
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