Forge by Laurie-Halse Anderson Book Review
Often, characters from different stories are similar to each other. Curzon, the main protagonist of the novel “Forge”, by Laurie-Halse Anderson, is a former slave fighting for his freedom whilst his counterpart, the caged bird in the poem Sympathy, by Paul Laurence Dunbar, while trapped, is doing all it can to break free. In the novel “Forge” by Laurie-Halse Anderson, Curzon is in many ways, both similar and different to the caged bird in Sympathy, by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
In the novel “Forge” by Laurie-Halse Anderson, Curzon is similar to the caged bird in Sympathy, by Paul Laurence Dunbar. When Curzon is under the service of Bellingham and recalling Benny’s story, “One of Benny Edward’s favorite stories was about a fellow who stole fire from the old gods and brought it to the people who were cold. I couldn’t remember his name. He was caught, of course. The gods chained him to a rock to punish him. Every day an eagle was sent to peck out the fellow’s liver. Every night the liver grew back, so he did not die. The torture started anew each morning… The rest of the fellows were quiet, including me, because I did not know what I would have done if somebody shackled me to a mountain and sent an eagle to eat my insides, day after day after day. Now I know. I would fight the eagle and the chains and that mountain as long as I had breath.”(Anderson, 198-199). This means that Curzon will fight against the pain of death to seize what he should have in the beginning. It shows us exactly what kind of a person Curzon is, a believer who will stop at nothing to express his views. Similarly, when the caged bird is fighting against its bonds, “I know why the caged bird beats his wing, Till its blood is red on the cruel bars…”(Dunbar, 8-9). This quote from the text means that the bird is sacrificing its blood in the hope that the bars would be damaged. Like Curzon, the bird is fighting until its last breath. These quotes show exactly how Curzon and the bird are similar to each other.
Despite their similarities with one another, they also share certain key differences. When Curzon is captured and meets Isabel, the only reason why he didn’t run away, there and then, was because “I almost bolted for the fireplace and grabbed that poker so I could brain him. They’d catch me, beat me, mebbe kill me, but it would have been worth it. Except for Isabel…”(Anderson,179). This quote means that Curzon is trying so hard to restrain himself from hitting Bellingham. He only restrains himself on the thought of the threat on Isabel if he had followed through. The bird, on the other hand, “sings, ah me, when his wing is bruised and his bosom sore, When he beats his bars and he would be free, It is not a carol of joy or glee, But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings, I know why the caged bird sings!” This quote from the text means that the bird really has no choice in getting free and has to resort to prayers in a hope that they would be answered. The bird is here against its will and is suffering from the longing of the outside world. In conclusion, Curzon and the bird are trapped in two different ways; Curzon is emotionally trapped because of Isabel and the bird is trapped physically with a cage around its body.