The Heart’s Deep Core
Lit. Unit 1, Lesson 6
--to understand the meaning of an important poem
--to examine how current events influence author’s works
--to identify symbolism in a poem
The use of one object or
action (a symbol) to
represent or suggest
• What is the bird symbolic of?
• What is the bird’s song symbolic of?
What do you think?
• 1. In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker
says he knows how the caged bird feels. He
then goes on to include several images of
freedom. Describe why the images bring
freedom to mind, and how a bird in a cage
might feel about seeing such things. What does
the fact that the speaker understands how the
caged bird feels tell you about the speaker?
2. In the second stanza of the poem, the bird is
described as beating its wings against the cage
and injuring itself. Why does the speaker
identify with this action? What does the fact
that the bird is willing to injure itself in a futile
attempt to escape tell you about how desperate
the bird is?
• 3. In nature, birds are free and can fly from place to
place as they choose. In that way, a bird may be
considered a symbol of freedom. However, in this
poem, the bird is caged. It cannot go wherever it
chooses. It cannot even escape its cage. However, the
bird can sing. What do you think the song
symbolizes? Why? Cite specific lines, phrases, and
words from the poem to support your answer.