The Poem Sympathy

The poem "Sympathy", by Paul Laurence Dunbar suggests to the reader a comparison between the lifestyle of the caged bird, and the African American in the nineteenth century. Paul Laurence Dunbar's focus of "Sympathy" is how the African American identifies and relates to the frustrations and pain that a caged bird experiences. Dunbar begins the poem by stating, "I know what the caged bird feels, alas!" which illustrates the comparison of a caged bird to an African American.
Dunbar writes a poem with vivid and descriptive language throughout. Dunbar uses this to emphasize his point that someone tied up in bondage and chains figuratively is not fortunate enough to enjoy the finer things in ...

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or economic circumstances. Underprivileged people may see white people doing what they enjoy and work themselves into a frustrated frenzy because try as they might, the deck is stacked against them.
Ironically, the life of the caged bird is the life of the African American. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the black population was enslaved and tortured by the white population. African Americans were looked down upon with disgust and inequity. The whites forced the blacks to become slaves to them because the white population possessed all of the power and wealth in America at that time; therefore, the black population had no choice but to be enslaved. African Americans were not given the chance to flourish and grow. In essence, African Americans were prisoners in their own home i.e. like the caged bird.
The life of a caged bird is similar. Caged birds too are like prisoners in their own home. A caged bird is not allowed to use its ability to fly, to explore, ...

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The Poem Sympathy. (2004, May 15). Retrieved January 16, 2019, from
"The Poem Sympathy.", 15 May. 2004. Web. 16 Jan. 2019. <>
"The Poem Sympathy." May 15, 2004. Accessed January 16, 2019.
"The Poem Sympathy." May 15, 2004. Accessed January 16, 2019.
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Added: 5/15/2004 05:06:07 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1128
Pages: 5

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