Hidden Figures In Comparison To The Caged Bird Bathurst High English Essay

1855 words - 8 pages

Maya Angelou and Theodore Melfi explore oppression as a challenge to the value of freedom and the inequality of coloured women through the film and poetry. Through the use of camera angles, dialogue and poetic devices both texts reflect the historical and modern challenges to the values of marginalized peoples. ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘I know why the caged bird sings’ successfully communicate powerful life experiences that highlight the individual's values of freedom in comparison to oppression and the inequality that coloured women face in society. The individual is used to represent a specific groups response to the barriers they must face and overcome to have their values recognised.
Maya Angelou uses her text to represent oppression among the African-American peoples. For example, Angelou writes “his wings are clipped and feet are tied”. The example uses the technique of symbolism to create a visual representation of the African-Americans oppression. Angelou has effectively shown contention by using “wings are clipped” to allude to the feeling of being trapped and not being able to do anything about their situation. Similarly, in the film ‘Hidden Figures’ the director, Theodore Melfi, has Katharine speak up about how coloured people are separated entirely from the white population. For example, their bathrooms are half a mile away from where all of the coloured peoples building are, on the other side of the campus. The example shows the camera technique of a close up to show Katherines heightened emotions and then when she mentions the raw topic of the coffee pot the camera goes to a high angle shot that shows her co-workers and their astonishment as they realise that it actually affects her. This is a symbol of how the white population are trying to keep them segregated and separate. This links to Angelou’s quote “wings are clipped” meaning that they don’t have the freedom that the white population has. By taking away their ability to reach a higher point in their careers they keep the African-American employees from reaching a place of power. An example of this from the film is the point that Katharine brings up when she is publically voicing her opinions to Mr Harrison, she states “lord knows you don’t pay colours enough to afford pearls”. This alludes to the pay gap that the coloured population have to deal with, just because they were born with a different skin colour. Both of these texts represent how both situations are similar and how they are both being oppressed by the powerful population, the white people.
Angelou uses her text to represent the effect of oppression on individuals in different ways. For example, Angelou writes “the caged bird sings with a fearful trill”. The example uses the poetic techniques of extended metaphors and powerful adjectives to relate directly to the African-Americans trauma. Angelou has effectively captured the effect of oppression by using her quote “the caged bird” as an extended metaphor that...

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