Sympathy Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Sympathy Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

If a person were to be imprisoned in a wire mesh without any freedom of movement, the thought would be awful. The bird in a cage is unable to fly or socialise with other birds. Being imprisoned has a connection to it. The poem “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar describes the suffering of a caged bird. In the poem, a bird is depicted singing and flapping its wings, but the bird is not happy as one might assume. The bird sings and flaps not because it is happy, but rather because it is unhappy. 

The poem goes beyond what it portrays and goes beyond a caged bird, and the author employs the caged bird to convey the poem’s main idea. The poet declares at the beginning of the poem that he is aware of “how the caged bird feels,” and then proceeds to describe how miserable the bird’s life is. Although the speaker is not a real bird, the metaphorical bird serves as a representation of the speaker’s lack of freedom and oppression in the poem. African American is the poem’s author, and it was written toward the end of the nineteenth century, according to evidence. This translates to the inspiration for the poem’s composition. It is possible that the caged bird is a metaphor for the African Americans who were being toured at the time. Additionally, the author’s use of imagery (a caged bird) illustrates how life is when one is denied their freedom. In addition, the experiences flaws throughout the poem, it is undeniable to claim that there is no fun.

Works Cited

“Sympathy,” Poetry of the Negro 1476-1970, by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1970).

The ramifications of poetic depiction, by Laurel Richardson. Research on lived experience (1992): 125–137, “Investigating Subjectivity.”

George Williamson An analysis of each poem in TS Eliot’s work as a reader’s guide. 1998: Syracuse University Press


    You get full access to this sample paper