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Word Count: 849
During the nineteenth and early twentieth century the black population was enslaved and tortured by whites African Americans were treated as animals denied the right to life forced to work endlessly and suffer abuse from their masters White Americans forced the blacks to become slaves due to the fact that whites possessed all of the power and wealth in that time Dunbars Sympathy suggests to the reader a comparison between the lifestyle of a caged bird and the African Americans of the nineteenth and twentieth century Dunbar uses repetition symbolism vivid language 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 Dunbar begins with I know what the caged bird feels alas1 This suggests to the reader that the slaves understand the life of a caged bird Also Dunbar uses this to emphasize his point that someone trapped by bondage is not fortunate enough to enjoy the pleasures and feelings of independence that lies within freedom When one thinks of a bird they may be reminded of their delicateness and the vast freedom of movement in which they are given by their wings Caged birds are prisoners of their own environment A caged bird is not allowed to use its natural ability to fly explore and live freely Instead the caged bird is forced to remain on his perch and cling10 Slaves were not free to roam their environment kept under constant watch living with the fear of being beaten killed or lynched Dunbar writes about the beauty of nature in the first stanza When the sun is bright on the upland slopes When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass And the river flows the a stream of glass When the first bird sings and the first bud opes And the
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