Maya Angelou is one of the most prominent and significant poets of not just her lifetime but in the history of literature as a whole. She is also probably the most noteworthy due to the fact that she continued to publish her works despite being an African-American woman. She has devoted all of her 84 years of life thus far to writing and teaching. Many of her works along the way have enlightened and encouraged millions across the world, but one of those works stands out from the rest. During her time in Ghana, Africa, in the 1960s, she was inspired to write of all the oppression, tyranny, and outright cruelty she had witnessed (Wikipedia, 2012). The product of her close study and then masterful writing would get her international recognition and acclaim.
She wrote a poem called “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, which she later used the same title for her autobiography. In this poem, Maya Angelou explains the core differences in a caged bird and a free bird. She writes that a free bird is able to spread its wings and fly, to roam all over the sky as it pleases, and can ride the air currents without anticipating any restrictions or boundaries. On the other hand, she writes about the caged bird, whose wings are clipped to prohibit flight and whose feet are tied to thwart the ability to walk and climb. She gives us perspective of the free bird’s mentality as he soars; he is planning to harvest the fat worms at the break of dawn and once again glide amongst the trade winds’ spontaneous breezes. Unlike the free bird, the caged bird remains confined behind metal bars, “stands on the grave of dreams”, and yet he still sings (Angelou, 1969). He cannot move, he cannot see, and he cannot hear anything going on outside of his unwanted and undeserved imprisonment. Angelou concludes in telling her readers that the caged bird’s reasoning in singing is not unknown. He sings solely for freedom,...