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Sympathy By Paul Laurence Dunbar Essay

771 words - 3 pages

At a point in time in the life of every person, a feeling of being trapped or stuck occurs. The poem “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar represents the speaker’s vast knowledge of the feeling of being enclosed in a place where they are tremendously uncomfortable. The speaker explains the actions of a bird trapped in a small cage and explains the motives behind the actions. The speaker reveals that the song the caged bird sings is not a melody exuberating joy, but a cry begging for freedom.
The title of the poem, “Sympathy”, represents the feeling that the speaker has toward a bird enclosed in a cage. The speaker relates to the bird by repeating the words “I know” and following them with an action of the bird, revealing that he has also experienced similar events that caused him to feel like the bird. He knows the pain of the small bird when nature is taking its beautiful course right outside of the window, but feeling the balmy sun on his face is impossible. The speaker uses a simile to compare the flowing river to a “stream of glass”, implanting in the mind of the reader an image of nature at its finest, but the flowing river is out of reach for the caged bird. The speaker also uses alliteration of the letter “s” when he says “the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,” In doing this, the sound of wind is embodied when the poem is read aloud, as the letter “s” sounds similar to the soft rush of wind. The speaker also uses imagery throughout the first stanza by saying “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;” The speaker provides the reader with a clear visual of the beauties of nature that the bird is unable to witness. The first stanza shows the pain the bird feels due to the beauty of nature constantly taunting him and remaining barely out of his grasp, intangible solely because of a set of thin metal bars.
The speaker also relates to the pain the bird feels while attempting to escape from confinement. The bird attempts to flee from the cage by beating his wings against the bars until they bleed. The bird then...

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