Caged Bird Is a Literary Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In McTeague, Norris applied the caged bird motif to illustrate the protagonist's chained existence that was at the mercy of naturalistic forces. As the canary is moved from place to place, so is the protagonist forced to move from one experience to another until he dies. It symbolizes the protagonist's life and death experiences. When McTeague finally dies near the end as he is handcuffed with a corpse, we see the canary also breathing her last: "McTeague remained stupidly looking around him, now at the distant horizon, now at the ground, now at the half-dead canary chittering feebly in its little gilt prison." (Chapter 22)

In Three Lives by Gertrude Stein, we have three important characters Lena, Anna and Melanctha whose lives are succinctly discussed. In this novel, it is Anna's character that can be closely associated with a caged bird. She is a German immigrant who works ceaselessly with moral uprightness and a sense of right and wrong which is so deeply embedded in her that she cannot possibly enjoy her life. She views everything slightly out of the ordinary with disdain and suspicion and is a true caged bird. The word Good in her description as the good Anna was used sarcastically to highlight the homosexual desires that she harbored and the good image she was forced to project to the world. Like a caged bird she "led an arduous and troubled life" (11). Her repressive sexuality wanted release and "Mrs. Lehntman was the only romance Anna ever knew" (52). Anna was however supposed to be good since she lived in a patriarchic society and couldn't get the freedom she needed to act on her wild impulses. And thus Anna treated with disdain everyone who enjoyed life the way…

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