The meaning of the poem "Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar is that, as an African American man, the poet empathizes with the bird locked in a cage and the lack of freedom he feels as he views the outside world. The poet understands that the tune the caged bird sings, misunderstood by so many as a happy tune, is similar to his own song, "a prayer...from his heart's deep core."
The poem begins with "I know what the caged bird feels." Dunbar paints a picture of a bird confined behind bars looking out at the world in springtime in all its fresh beauty, yet he is only able to enjoy it from afar. Dunbar relates to this because he feels that he is confined to a world where freedom is not his, and he is only able to watch the free world from his prison.
The second stanza begins "I know why the caged bird beats his wing." Dunbar knows the bird wants to be free, but he is only able to go back to his perch. Dunbar, the son of former slaves, understands because he is still unable to go where he wants, and his world is limited. He feels the old scars, and the pain resurfaces as sharp as ever from time to time.
The third stanza begins "I know why the caged bird sings." Dunbar says it is not a joyful song but "a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings." The poet knows, and he empathizes because he also sends a similar plea.Learn More
The central meaning of Langston Hughes' poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" revolves around the importance of roots and the way they provide meaning in life. Even though the specific word "roots" does not appear in this poem, details in the text point the reader toward rivers, veins, tree roots and other timeless objects. By using images and languages, Hughes creates a dual meaning for this theme, both in terms of depth and heritage.Full Answer >
The speaker of "Sea Fever" is someone who has sailed before and wishes to do so again. The speaker lists all the things that he loves about sailing and the sea.Full Answer >
The poem "Bonsai" by Edith Tiempo is about love and how people imbue certain objects with love for a person, and those objects become the symbol of love. Edith Tiempo starts out her poem by describing what she does with love. She folds it to make it smaller so that she can keep it in a box, hollow post or shoe. Because love is an abstract concept and has no physical form, she is obviously talking about objects.Full Answer >
"Immigrants," a poem by Pat Mora, explores immigrant parents sacrificing their ethnic identity and money to provide for their children. These sacrifices are due to the parents worrying about whether or not American society will accept their children.Full Answer >