The Theme of Overcoming Adversity in the Poem Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

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In this analytical essay, a student discusses the theme of overcoming adversity in "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou. The student explains how her family's move when she was in third grade exemplifies a time she successfully dealt with a major hardship in her life.

Can an individual possibly be so restricted yet free at the same time? In the short poem titled: Caged Bird, the caged bird is a metaphor for an individual making the best of being trapped in a cage despite the complete restriction that is evident based on the poem. The experience that is described in the text is a direct comparison to the experience I had in third grade, I simply lacked the authority to decide whether or not to restart socially in a different environment. What would I ever do in a city where I did not know a single pupil? When an individual is forced to deal with potential challenges, it can be difficult initially, but help an individual learn to cope with tough scenarios in the future and make the best out of them.

The poem begins by using imagery to paint the vivid picture of a bird that is free of restrictions, the author describes the joy of a bird soaring through the air in the first stanza. Interaction with nature is important for the free bird as it is not controlled with physical barriers. Furthermore, in the second stanza a second bird is described, this bird however has been placed in a cage with its wings clipped and feet tied, It is clear the bird is restricted physically. The bird displays action of hobbling through the minuscule cage that separates the bird from the aspect of nature that is cherished by the free bird. The contrasting stanzas provide the reader with the impression of the difference in quality of life of the birds based on their surroundings. Although scared and restricted, the text suggests with," For the caged bird sings of freedom." that despite the aspect of being trapped, the bird still sings with dignity. Having accepted the situation, the bird has learned to make the best out of what the poor situation has to offer. This piece of evidence in the poem provides insight into the literal meaning of the text. A metaphor is provided in the text comparing the caged bird to someone who is forced to deal with adversity and overcome it. Perhaps the cage represents misfortune and the bird singing as if it is free represents the gaining of courage to deal with the situation. Even if changes in aspects of life may seem like the end of the world, the individual learns to adapt because they know that if they let the dilemma get to them, it may be more destructive than accepting and making the best of the situation. Even if the individual faced restrictions, it is evident based on the text that they successfully learned to live without letting it affect their quality of life.

As a third grader, I thought that moving to another city would be the end of the world, would I ever learn to overcome this sudden dilemma? This all started halfway through the school year of grade three, I was finally feeling settled in my new house in Airdrie that we moved into a year earlier. At school, I found that I was creating strong bonds with some individuals and actually enjoying the experience of learning when I was with people who I can connect with. After class one occasion after telling my mother about my time at school, I noted that the route that we usually took to get home was abandoned and we were suddenly on the highway to a distant city. As we pulled up a small suburban house in a city named Calgary, I remember the feeling of distress when my mother told me we were moving again and my parents collectively made an offer on the house. The feeling of betrayal towards my parents, and thoughts running through my mind of all that would change, led me to curl up in the back seat of the car and exaggerate whimpering sounds in an effort to make my mother feel guilty. After several tantrums and the continued arguing about why we should stay where we are, I realized that my third-grade logic would not prevail and that this would be the restriction in this scenario. There was nothing I could do to cancel or even postpone the relocation of my habitat. I would lose all my friends moving to Calgary, have to start over socially after all the progress of meeting people. The thought of a new area and house made me sick to my stomach. Although these points sounded bad as a third grader, it actually helped me open up to more people and helped improve my social skills for the future. The experience was difficult, but I made the best of the misfortune and gained the courage to overcome the challenge. Before I knew it, I already was adapted to the new school, had new friends and got to experience all the good things about Calgary that I would have never known about if this did not happen. What I have learned from this experience about getting over problems has helped me have a positive outlook when dealing with negative situations. This large inconvenience for my third-grade self has made me stronger mentally, and not to mention I also became more accepting of changes that may have occurred since grade three or that are going to occur. Like the bird in the cage, I took something that was an inconvenience and learned to be grateful for what I have because I knew that there is no way to reverse the change.

When faced with challenges in an individual's life, it is important that they learn to not let the negatives conflict with their quality of life by making the best out of any situation. With all information being considered, an individual can observe that conflicts the bird had faced initially with being restricted physically, have aspects that are in direct relation to my experience as a third grader being restricted mentally because I lacked the authority to make decisions based on where we reside. The bird realized that because there was nothing that could be done to suddenly get out of the cage, he sang as if he was a free bird soaring in the wind. While I realized that I could not influence my parents with my limited knowledge so the only viable option was to accept the change and learn to be happy despite what happens along the way.

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The Theme of Overcoming Adversity in the Poem Caged Bird by Maya Angelou. (2022, Dec 12). Retrieved June 18, 2024 , from

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