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Sympathy Analysis



Author: Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar Type: Poetry Views: 3104



I know what the caged bird feels.
Ah me, when the sun is bright on the upland slopes,
when the wind blows soft through the springing grass
and the river floats like a sheet of glass,
when the first bird sings and the first bud ops,
and the faint perfume from its chalice steals.
I know what the caged bird feels.

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
till its blood is red on the cruel bars,
for he must fly back to his perch and cling
when he fain would be on the bow aswing.
And the blood still throbs in the old, old scars
and they pulse again with a keener sting.
I know why he beats his wing.

I know why the caged bird sings.
Ah, me, when its wings are bruised and its bosom sore.
It beats its bars and would be free.
It's not a carol of joy or glee,
but a prayer that it sends from its heart's deep core,
a plea that upward to heaven it flings.
I know why the caged bird sings.

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




.: :.

i also want to become a writter.this poem really touched my heart.i cannot say any thing.
by,
mini

| Posted on 2013-02-17 | by a guest


.: :.

i also want to become a writter.this poem really touched my heart.i cannot say any thing.
by,
mini

| Posted on 2013-02-17 | by a guest


.: :.

In my opinion the caged bird represent the whole African-American\'S grief , longing for freedom is so painful ,Dunber resemble his community\'s plea. Actually blacks feels were different unexpectedly they have been pulled in to slavery like bird in a cage hats of to Dunber to use his talent for his community .

| Posted on 2012-11-19 | by a guest


.: :.

.2nd stanza-
The bird tries hard to escape, beating its wings on the bars till the bars of the cage become red with blood. Here the poet has used the simile \'cruel bars\' coz they do not break, showing no mercy for the poor bird. The bird has a desire to fly back to its original habitat. It would be obliged to swing on the branches of a tree. The scars have become old with time but still pain. But time and again there is a vain attempt by the bird to escape. The agony of the bird increases each time it tries to escape.

| Posted on 2012-08-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I also believe it has do with slavery, the bird or slave is being held back due to society. They aren\'t able to have the rights of others.

| Posted on 2012-04-04 | by a guest


.: :.

This is an complicated poem but it seems sad and can be turned into a beautiful, lovely song that i think everyone will love and listen to all the time.

| Posted on 2012-02-15 | by a guest


.: :.

it\'s all about a bird which is leading a sad,unlucky and a caged life

| Posted on 2012-02-12 | by a guest


.: :.

I think that \"Sympathy\" is more about the personal struggles of the poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar wrote at the time when African Americans were belittled and were not accepted as human beings, therefore it was rare for any African American to gain recognitions in the sophisticated arts such as poetry, and Dunbar did gain fame. However, it was for his dialect poetry, which is less sophisticated, often humorous poetry that is written in the African American dialect at the time (for example, the word \"the\" would be \"de\", \"that\" would be \"dat\"). Dunbar wanted to gain an audience through his widely accepted dialect poetry, and then start writing his \"major\" poetry; a more sophisticated type that was, at the time, only \"white man\'s poetry\". However, the audience just kept asking for more dialect poetry, and stomped on his sophisticated works. Dunbar, having a keen awareness on the ways of society, realized that he would not be accepted by the culture of the time. I believe that in \"Sympathy\", Dunbar expressed his frustrations at the limitations that his race, the culture, and society put on his talent and aspirations. Dunbar is the caged bird; he is locked in the cage of prejudice and racism.

| Posted on 2011-02-12 | by a guest


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sympathy talk mainly about the stereotypes of women. Its used as ioronical figurative language !

| Posted on 2010-11-17 | by a guest


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According to my opinion, sympathy is a poem not only about a caged bird but about our lives in general; the way we desire for freedom, the way no living being can ever dwell peacefully in captivity. the bird is a symbolic representation of our own griefs and our own longing to be able to experience the true beauty of the world around us. it may also show, according to the peots background, the trials and struggles of slavery; about how slaves would injure themselves but that would not stop them from trying to be free once again. it reflects in a tragic way the horrors of captivity.

| Posted on 2010-08-24 | by a guest


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The poem Sympathy by Paul Dunbar pictures of how a caged bird, African Americans, are trapped y boundaries thy cannot free themselves from. He explains how the cage or slavery caused the people pain "the pain still throbs in the old, old scars." the poem can be represented to be about racism and segregation because as he was born around that time he experienced the racism from white Americans soon after the time of the emancipation. thus the poem can be expressed to be as an African American seeing the freedom but not experiencing it. in the last stanza he mentions that they sing as if for someone to hear their plea for freedom.

| Posted on 2010-04-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe this poem Sympathy majorly focuses on the topic slavery. Slavery is a prevalent issue that many Blacks used to face, and being a slave is like being locked in a little uncomfortable cage, clinging onto the cruel bars, just waiting for our prayer to be recognized and known. I believe the caged bird is asking for freedom, and I believe freedom for him is dying. Some people are free when they are at a dead state, and that is what I believe. The third stanza recognizes the caged bird's perseverance, his Barack Obama trait - hope - , and faith. He wants to obtain a release so he can interpret what freedom really means. He continues to persevere and has hope, willing to beat his wings day and night, just waiting upon someone to release him, letting him enjoy the soothing aroma of freedom.

| Posted on 2010-03-09 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe this poem Sympathy majorly focuses on the topic slavery. Slavery is a prevalent issue that many Blacks used to face, and being a slave is like being locked in a little uncomfortable cage, clinging onto the cruel bars, just waiting for our prayer to be recognized and known. I believe the caged bird is asking for freedom, and I believe freedom for him is dying. Some people are free when they are at a dead state, and that is what I believe. The third stanza recognizes the caged bird's perseverance, his Barack Obama trait - hope - , and faith. He wants to obtain a release so he can interpret what freedom really means. He continues to persevere and has hope, willing to beat his wings day and night, just waiting upon someone to release him, letting him enjoy the soothing aroma of freedom.

| Posted on 2010-03-09 | by a guest


.: :.

Dunbar's use of figurative language and extended metaphor here is breathtaking. He is comparing a bird trapped in a cage to slavery and the pain of no freedom. The song the bird sings represents the plea for freedom. The poet relates to the feeling of bird, as his parents were once slaves. The imagery used here is incredible. Because Dunbar is expressing his feelings here, the poem is lyrical. The third stanza emphasizes how desperate the bird truly is. The bird sings a prayer not of joy or glee, but of prayer to Heaven.

| Posted on 2009-11-05 | by a guest


.: :.

Dunbar's use of figurative language and extended metaphor here is breathtaking. He is comparing a bird trapped in a cage to slavery and the pain of no freedom. The song the bird sings represents the plea for freedom. The poet relates to the feeling of bird, as his parents were once slaves. The imagery used here is incredible. Because Dunbar is expressing his feelings here, the poem is lyrical. The third stanza emphasizes how desperate the bird truly is. The bird sings a prayer not of joy or glee, but of prayer to Heaven.

| Posted on 2009-11-05 | by a guest


.: :.

I think the third stanza of the poem could definitely be analyzed further. I think it refers to the African-American people preffering to be dead than be "caged" anymore. They just want to be set free from their struggle.

| Posted on 2009-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

I like to contrast this poem with the attitude that Madame Jeanne Marie Guyon had in her poem "A Prisoner's Song." Dunbar concentrates on the frustration of being behind bars whereas Guyon concentrates on finding contentment and peace no matter what the circumstances are.

| Posted on 2009-01-26 | by a guest


.: :.

The caged bird in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy” represents both the author himself and the African American community as a whole.
The first stanza of the poem illustrates the inherent longing of the so-called caged bird to be free. The author explains, “I know what the caged bird feels…When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass”. In other words, the author understands what it’s like to have freedom just out of reach (i.e. the African Americans situation during Reconstruction). Segregation, racial etiquette, and the overall concept of separate but equal reinforced the African American’s status as second-class citizens. Though they were labeled as free men they were still “caged” by the open racism of the time.
The second stanza continues to realize the frustration of the bird, trying desperately to break from its cage knowing its efforts are futile. The author also illustrates the internal pain the cage evokes. “And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars And they pulse with a keener sting – I know why the caged bird beats his wing”. In short, the “scars” slavery left on the black population are being reopened as they fight desperately for equality. Now that they can see their freedom, have tasted it, the need for it is greater than ever.
The last stanza of the poem illustrates the undaunted hope of the African American population. Though “his wing is bruised and his bosom sore” they continue to believe in the possibility of freedom. “A prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core, a plea, that upward Heaven he flings – I know why the caged bird sings!”

| Posted on 2009-01-08 | by a guest


.: :.

God!! i love this poem... at first you may thot that the message is only shallow. but try to look deep down at the heart of the poem.. you will realize its beauty...
this poem is about paul dunbar himself... sympathy for his fello blacks. as we all know, blacks are often discriminated and rejected by society. here in his poem, he is trying to reach out to everyone to be aware of their situations. this blacks and colored people are no less than those of the white ones. they are also human and entitled to their own rights,..

| Posted on 2008-12-15 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is a depiction of life in general. Everyone is faced with some type of event or situation that holds them back from experiencing things outside of their "cage" I believe that this poem is not merely just a poem of slavery, but a poem that represents everyones life in general

| Posted on 2008-12-08 | by a guest


.: :.

I studied this poem in class, and I don't think it has to do with slavery so much as the Jim Crow laws. A caged bird is still somewhat free, just restrained from going places and barred from pleasures; The blacks in the South were the same with the Jim Crow laws. "Seperate but Equal" was the phrase used, but to African-Americans, this was still not true.

| Posted on 2008-11-11 | by a guest


.: :.

paul laurence dunbar appropriately titles this poem 'sympathy' as after reading a little about him and the poem you can actually imagine the bird as a caged slave . his real life experiences of knowing the harsh realities of slavery help as we can see the pain come out in each line of the poem .

| Posted on 2008-09-19 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe Dunbar was talking about slavery and life in general. We face things in our lives that scar us for life, and I believe he was talking to us today as well as tomorrow. Poetry is like the bible in some ways it tells of yesterday and tomorrow. Dunbar had a real feel of life. Two other artists have used "I know why the caged bird". Alicia Keys and Maya Angelou used these words in a poem, book, and a song. These different works teaches us about life and how we must overcome obstacles and rejoice afterwards.

| Posted on 2008-07-18 | by a guest


.: Sympathy :.

While analyzing literary devices like repetition and metaphor is novel and interesting, it takes the focus off the actual meaning of the poem. It's important to keep in mind that this poem was published Postbellum, in 1899, and the social context which it describes. I'm not sure how this could be interpreted as an ode to "God", or how "God" can help it (since "he" didn't for hundreds of years), but the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction Eras presented new difficulties for the "freed" slaves of the South--namely a de jure (rather than de facto) freedom that included loopholes, Jim Crow laws, and other exploitative practices, not to mention the overwhelming sense of nostalgia for the pre-war ways of the South in terms of literature and public interest.

| Posted on 2008-02-13 | by a guest


.: A summary by Manan :.

P.L.Dunbar was a seminal African American poet in the late 19th and the early 20th century. In the first stanza,he uses the bird as a symbol of bondage. He explains about the various elements of nature: the bright sun,the shimmering river,the gentle breeze.. that a caged bird dreams of and expresses his sympathy for the bird. In the second stanza, he uses the device called "Transferred Epithet" for the bars of the jail which redden due the blood oozing from the bird's scars.
He again repeats(Poetic Repetition) "I know why" to express the intensity of his feelings and to add a musical touch to the poem.In the third stanza, he explains that the caged bird sings not out of joy but to remind us of the severe trauma it is facing. Moreover this song is an ode to God (who alone can help it) which the bird flings towards heaven out of sheer frustation.

| Posted on 2005-03-16 | by Approved Guest




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