Secondly, along with the use of helpless songs as single remaining tools, both “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird” continue to examine the idea of the enclosed birds’ dedication to freedom despite previous painful efforts and destroyed envisions. In “Sympathy,” the trapped bird uses his dedication throughout painful attempts to break through restrictions. In Dunbar’s words, “And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars … When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore” (12,16). In this quote, the helpless bird forcefully throws and injures himself in order to achieve liberty, relating specifically to African American’s continuous and never-ending efforts against injustices. Additionally, readers can observe the captured bird’s endurance despite old wounds, demonstrating that his painful injuries and failures serve as reminders and encouragement for a higher dedication. Similarly to the captured bird, post injustices persuade African Americans to battle even harder for their deserved advantages. Likewise, the captured bird in “Caged Bird” is faced with various moral and physical limitations but continues to portray persistence during devastating times.
The author comments, “But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams / his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream” (Angelou 27, 28). In this quote, the enclosed bird has anticipated and dreamt before of advantages and liberty, but his visions were continuously crushed and destroyed. The helpless bird’s desires represent his previous efforts and persistence at wanting to express his decisions, individuality, and longing for liberty, contrasting slightly with “Sympathy’s” painful and violent attempts for similar opportunities. As a result, the author used the captured bird’s constant perseverance during impactful and scarring failures as a representation of African American’s dedication for unreachable advantages despite their surrounding’s disapproval. All in all, both authors in “Sympathy” and “Caged Bird” examined the idea of the enclosed birds’ continuous dedication to freedom despite previous painful efforts, thus adding to the theme about African American’s persistence for liberty.