In the thought provoking masterpiece "Caged bird "the poet, Maya Angelou, through the contrast of the birds, illustrates oppression and fear of freedom of these who cannot be free. This is supported by the bright descriptions of the carefree bird.
Angelou uses powerful verbs to reflect the difference between the two birds. The free creature "leaps", "floats" "dips", "claims" and "dares". The active tense of these words helps to show the full effect of the freedom the outgoing animal has. The caged bird however, can only "stalk", "shout" and "long". He can only make his opinion be heard if he "opens his throat to sing".
It should be noted down that the passive tense is mostly used for the oppressed little animals, which heightens the powerlessness of it. When the poet presents the little bird in the present by the use of the verb "are", she still proves the continuation of the oppression, the exploitation and the lack of freedom.
Powerful imagery occupies a powerful position in the poem "Caged bird" for it conveys the numerous emotions and the thoughts of the birds. The metaphor "bar of rage" reveals the rage of the enslaved bird at not being able to do what he pleases. He cannot even do the natural actions done by his fellow creatures such as fly due to the fact that "his wings are clipped and his feet are clipped" yet the bird is determined to be heard proving that the animal is not a 'quitter' by any means " for the caged bird sins of freedom".
Furthermore, the reference to the "narrow cage" indicates how unfair the world is unfair the world is because if one would compare it to the area in which the free bird resides, "the sky", it marks out the inequality of the world. The metaphor "grave of dreams" extends the notion of there being no hope left for the poor soul. All thoughts of being freed have died.