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Word Count: 612
During the nineteenth and early twentieth century the African American population still felt the aftermath of slavery through the beliefs and actions of the white societies During slavery African Americans were dehumanized looked upon as property and treated worse than animals Furthermore slaves were denied the right to life forced to work endlessly and suffered abuse from their masters However slavery ended in 1865 and yet Africans are still suffering from the entrapment of society Paul Laurence Dunbars Sympathy written in 1899 gives the reader a comparison between the life of a caged bird and the African Americans throughout history Dunbar uses vivid language repetition and symbolism to relay his comparison throughout the poem Ironically the life of a caged bird is indeed the life of the African American An African American like the caged bird was forced to live in captivity and please others on command The second stanza begins with I know why the caged bird beats his wing8 The speaker understands why the caged bird fights both physically and emotionally to be set free The caged bird is willing to inflict pain unto itself in order to break the bars that surround his prison The bird is beat up emotionally because his frustration and anger will never be satisfied by the freedom his wishes for The longer the bird expends its energy to get out of the cage the more physically and emotionally beat up the bird will becomeThe bird does not cease to stop fighting Till its blood is red on the cruel bars9 The blood on the bars of his cage marks both the bird and the African Americans strength in battle for freedom and success Both are willing to inflict pain on themselves in order to gain freedom The blood is also ambiguous because it symbolizes the bird and African Americans identity The African American society lives feeling that they are trapped in a cage however instead of bars
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