What is the significance of the expression — “fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn” in Maya Angelou’s poem “I know why the caged bird sings”?
The line occurs in the fourth stanza of Angelou’s poem “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” where she compares the situations of a caged bird with that of a free bird.
In the above quoted line, fat worms waiting on a bright lawn means that opportunities are always present at the hands of the free bird. He even doesn’t have to find foods here and there. He gets anything and everything at will.
This is to indicate the privilege that the white people of America enjoyed over the African Americans who used to lead their life like the caged bird in the poem.
Fat worms denotes the quality and quantity of the resources available for the whites or the free bird. Bright lawn shows us his freedom to go anywhere and have anything to do.
‘Fat worms’ signifies all the opportunities that a free bird has. It can find its food at every door represented by ‘dawn bright lawn’ which is an intensive imagery showing all the endless possibilities of a free bird.
A free bird refers to white Americans who are free to enjoy their life and has a control over their life, comparing to African Americans who are just like a caged bird with no rights and no possibilities.
The free bird’s wishes and egoistic nature is very much similar to the mentality of the privileged white class people. Here, the fat worms signifies the opportunities and advantages enjoyed by the white people and the dawn bright lawn conveys the limitlessness in their enjoyment of rights and freedom.