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Sympathy By Paul Laurence Dunbar Haley Greenfield.

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1 Sympathy By Paul Laurence Dunbar Haley Greenfield

2 Paul Laurence Dunbar Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio The son of ex-slaves First African-American to gain national eminence as a poet Although he lived to be only 33 years old, Dunbar was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for which he became well known Popular with black and white readers of his day His style encompasses two distinct voices  the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn-of-the- century black community in America

3 Important Facts: published in 1899, after the Civil War Racism in society Jim Crow Laws, segregation, unequal practices

4 Sympathy 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.

5 What is the subject? Focus of the poem is how the African American identifies and relates to the frustrations and pain that a caged bird experiences (published in 1899, after the Civil War)

6 “I know what the caged bird feels.”  Illustrates the comparison of a caged bird to an African American and shows how he identifies with the subject The rest of the first stanza various elements of nature: the bright sun, the shimmering river, the gentle breeze  Visual imagery  The bird's struggle for freedom  These symbols of freedom increase the bird's desire to be free just as the river which flows without restraint “the first bird sings”  Auditory imagery- adds to the caged bird's desire to be free.  Birds singing announces that spring has arrived, birds are outside, free to soar wherever they choose  “faint perfume”  olfactory imagery- further stimulating its urge to be free First Stanza 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.

7 “I know why the caged bird beats his wing”  Further identifying himself with the subject  He knows why the blacks in slavery struggled “blood red on the cruel bars”  Visual imagery- easy to imagine the bird beating its wings until they bleed. His beating against the bars inflicts more pain on "old, old scars"  Personification “for he must fly back to his perch and cling when he fain would be on the bow aswing”  The bird would rather be free than locked up in his cage “I know why”  Repetition- to express the intensity of his feelings and to add a musical touch to the poem Second Stanza 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.

8 “caged bird”  Metaphor for all creatures that so intensely fight for just a taste of freedom  The caged bird fights for freedom just as hard as any person would “It beats its bars and would be free”  Alliteration  He beats his wings against the cage which is society holding him in by racism. The only way he would be free if society forgets the differences and establishes a community that accepts adversity “It's not a carol of joy or glee, but a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core”  Sings not out of joy, but to express the severe trauma it is facing Third Stanza 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.

9 Why be Sympathetic? Why not instead rescue the caged bird from its depression and conflictions? Why must one watch and stand by while the caged bird suffers and dies slowly from all the weight of its troubles?

10 Overall Message He wrote it to ask us why we have stood by and watched as African Americans have been the caged bird constantly beating its wings against the cage and crying out, not singing, for their freedom Tear the cages apart and bend the bars because everyone deserves to be free


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