Paper: An Analysis of the Theme of Slavery in Paul Laurence Dunbar's Sympathy

The blood is also ambiguous because it symbolizes the bird and African Americans identity. The African American society lives feeling that they are trapped in a cage; however, instead of bars there are racists and stereotypes. Once the bird realizes that he has lost yet another battle for freedom he then must fly back to his perch and cling(10). However, the bird would much rather be happily swinging on a high branch in the trees bough-a-swing. One may recognize that both the perch, and the branch are both places of rest for the bird, yet, a perch is small and enclosed while the branch allows for flight in endless directions. African Americans were rarely allowed off their plantations during slavery. Once slavery was abolished African Americans were still not allowed freedom of choice of schools, stores, jobs, and where they lived. Society acts as a cage that entraps African Americans freedom. Generation after generation, enslaved Africans were unable to celebrate freedom however, their battle never stopped. Dunbar exemplifies this struggle in lines (12,13)And the pain still throbs in the old, old, scars. / And they pulse again with a keener sting...