To create a solidified understanding of the stark contrast between the lives of the free bird and the caged bird for the readers, “Caged Bird” author Maya Angelou sets the tone as one that is sorrowful and frustrated, yet empowerful. In lines 5-6, Angelou uses imagery to illustrate the energy and joy the free bird contains by describing how it “dips his wings in the orange sun rays”. In contrast, in lines 7-8 of the next stanza, Angelou describes the caged bird’s dreadful existence living in confinement by stating that “his wings are clipped and his feet are tied”. Similarly, Angelou gives the bird the human ability to let out a desperate cry for freedom from an oppressor in lines 19-20 by using personification as follows: “the caged bird sings of freedom”. In addition, the repetition of the third stanza at the end emphasizes the caged bird’s isolation, frustration, despair, and sorrow, yet shows his hope by vocally demanding for freedom. Lastly, the metaphor in line 11, “his bars of rage” conveys the caged birds imprisonment of not only his physical body, but he is caged with confined anger and frustration; the author compares the birds rage to his confinement. By comparing the life of a bird who is oppressed and confined to the life of a bird who is free from oppression, the author delivers the message of isolation resulting from prejudice and racism through slavery that African Americans faced. The life of the caged bird accurately depicts the life of African American slaves, who suffered from the wrath of the Jim Crow Laws, as they were isolated and confined because of racism and segregation. Despite their circumstances, it is made clear through the poem that the African Americans vocally cried out for their freedom, and did not lose hope while fighting for their rights and incorporation in society. Similar to the confinement of certain races during the time of slavery, there is an anti-Islam and anti-Semitism ideology steeped in deep racism and prejudice that has its grips on our society at the moment. The media, which controls the mental structure of most people, has an intense fear and hatred of Muslims, who are seen as a source of terrorism. We as Muslims continue to pray, as we suffer from confinement and prejudice, and will not lose hope to make this world a better place.

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