Course Reflection

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I was a bit skeptical about taking a contemporary literature class. I am a Nursing major, so I tend to be better at the math and sciences, but I needed to fulfill my last humanities credit. I actually really loved doing the blog posts instead of writing papers, it made things more entertaining. I had been thinking about making a “mom” blog for a few years now, but never quite knew how. Now I know how to set up, and run a blog. These are skills that in today’s world, are very useful to have. It took a bit of getting used to writing something that isn’t so formal, but personally I preferred it. I was a little apprehensive to write my first blog post, the guidelines were vague. That isn’t a bad thing, but for someone so black and white, I wasn’t sure I was doing it correctly. Eunice was there to help the whole way, and I am glad she didn’t give us topics to write on, instead we got to choose things that interested us.

Aside from learning how to create a blog, I also learned how to properly analyze. This class we analyzed text, songs, movies, etc. But this is a good skill to have in everyday life. I find myself pondering over song lyrics, instead of taking everything for face value. I must admit that I am not a huge reader, but there is so much more you can analyze besides books. I am honestly very happy I ended up taking this class. I wasn’t interested in all of the books that we had to read, such as the golden compass, but you will have things in every class that simply don’t interest you, and that’s a part of becoming a better student.

I also really enjoyed the class discussions. It was interesting to see how others analyzed the same text, but in a completely different way. I gained new perspective, which I respect.   Learning that other people see things different from we do, is a good things to accept, and it makes for a great debate. We had quite a few very interesting discussions, I don’t mind speaking in a classroom, so this was an aspect of the class I enjoyed. The conversation journals helped me to keep track of the points I wanted to discuss, or else I would have forgotten my discussion topics.

Overall, I had a really great experience in my contemporary literature class. It was a great way to end my writing classes. Learning how to analyze with such depth, has really opened my eyes to things I would otherwise miss. I would highly recommend this class to others, even if they think it sounds tough, it’s worth it. Eunice Louis was a phenomenal teacher, she is passionate about literature, and it shows. Thank you for a great semester.

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A dream within a dream, but what’s a dream?

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Inception  (In science fiction), the act of instilling an idea into someones mind by entering his or her dreams.

If you haven’t seen Inception, the 2010 science fiction movie written, co-produced, and directed be Christopher Nolan, you must. This post will contain spoilers, so quit reading now if you haven’t seen it, and come back when you have. This is a movie that merges the dream world, with reality. The question is, is reality the same as a dream for some? Might the entire movie just have been a dream? If you left the theatre scratching your head, you’re not alone. I had to re watch this movie, twice, to get any sort of idea on what was a dream, I believe it all was a dream, layered into other dreams, as opposed to layered with reality.

The ending of the movie threw me through a loop, I had thought Cobb finally made it back home to reality, leaving the dream world once and for all, until the movie cut with the little top still spinning, indicating that Cobb was still dreaming. That made me question everything I had just seen, what was the point of trying to escape the dream world, if he actually hadn’t?  The whole movie was based on the premise of him returning home to his children, but it didn’t happen. There is a lot of debate about if he was still in dream land or not, I say he was still dreaming, and these are my reasons.

The thing that clued me into this movie being a dream, which I only caught onto the second time watching it, was the line where Cobb said ” A dream always starts in the middle of something, but not really the beginning, and we never think about how we got there.” That is exactly how this movie begins, it sets the premise for it all being a dream. It starts in the middle of Cobb’s story, as well as in the middle of a dream heist. We aren’t even introduced to any of the characters, instead we are given a small glimpse of the end of the story, then it shifts over to a dream heist.

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The ground work for “it’s a dream theory” is based on how limbo works. When the “kick” happens, which is suicide in this movie, you will go one level up when you are in a multi-level dream.  Cobb explains to Ariadne that he and his wife Mal, ended up in Limbo because they went to many levels down in the dream world, and couldn’t get out, or determine what was reality, and what was a dream. At the end of the movie he explains that he and Mal grew old together, eventually committing suicide on the train tracks to go back to reality, but this would only have bumped them up one level in the dream world, not far enough up for it to be reality. They would have had to kill themselves over and over to return back. Cobb believes inception is the reason his wife Mal went insane and killed herself. Totems are described in this movie as ” An elegant solution to keep track of reality.” Mal locked her totem in a safe, while it was continually spinning, meaning she was in a perpetual dream. If her totem tips over and stops spinning, that is an indication that she is in reality. Cobb breaks the rules of totems that he had explained to Ariadne, he says nobody but the owner can touch the totems, yet he carries around Mal’s. He doesn’t even own his own totem, so how does he actually distinguish whats reality and what isn’t? It’s just another construct of the dreams. For those of us watching, it’s the interactions, the buildings, where the story starts, that clues us into what is dreams, not the totem.

Cobb believes he is in reality when his wife jumps off the side of their hotel building, leading to her death. I actually had to rewind, and pause this scene of the movie to realize why they were still in a dream world. She appears to be across the street leaning out of an identical hotel room as to the one Cobb is on. If it was reality, they would have been standing on the ledge together, not on opposite sides of the road. It was a mirror image of the hotel, that has to be a dream. She destroys her hotel room, as well as his image by making it appear that he killed her, in hopes that he will join her in committing suicide, it doesn’t work. We know he believes it’s reality because he tells her to think about their kids before jumping off the hotel ledge, and she explains how they are illusions, and by killing herself she will get to reunite with them. She makes it appear that he killed her for the purpose of him being prosecuted for her murder, making his life in that “dream world” ruined. He would have to kill himself to escape it, which is exactly what she wanted.

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Another point that struck me as odd, and why I believe the entire movie is a dream, is that Cobb’s children never age, and are wearing the exact same outfit in every scene. If at any point he was actually in reality, they would be changing, not reenacting the same scene of them playing in the grass, wearing the same clothes. It’s not until the ending that we even get to see their faces, every shot up until then that they are in, we don’t see their face, just their backs turned to us, playing for a few seconds before running off. In reality children age, change clothes, it cannot be reality at any point.

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Entering into someones dream, and exploring their sub conscience is in itself a dream. It defies the laws of physics as we know them, this isn’t possible. Making the whole argument of the movie invalid, in no point does Cobb return to reality, because switching between people’s dreams cannot happen. The only way one could even believe this could be doable is to dream it up while dreaming, not while in reality.

If you re watch the movie, you never see the beginning of any scene, which is how Cobb describes dreams. The scenes always start in the middle, you don’t even realize this is happening unless you consciously think about it while watching the movie. This further supporting my thesis about the entire movie bouncing between layers of dreams, instead of between reality and dreams. He isn’t in a state of reality throughout the entire movie.

The ending of this movie is what really nails my point of it all being a dream. That’s where the entire movie clicked in my mind, or to support my theory. Cobb awakens on an airplane looking confused, traveling back home to the Los Angeles with all of the characters he travels through dreams with in the movie. Yet none of them have any more dialogue, as if he just dreamed the entire movie, and is now in reality for the first time. The people around him are studying him, just as the illusion people study the dreamer while in their own dream. He passes through immigration without an issue, but mind you he thought in reality he was wanted for murdering his wife, which furthermore proves his “reality” was simply a dream. His dad is at the airport waiting to take him back home, which was what he was striving to get back to the entire movie. For a few minutes I believe that he was once and for all back to reality. He gets home and his kids are again shown in the same scene as they have been all movie, outside playing in the grass still young children, in the same outfits. The only thing different is this time they turn around, and he is able to see their faces for the first time. The next shot is of the totem spinning on the table, and the movie cuts off. The last few seconds of the totem spinning, it starts to wobble just before the screen goes black.

This is the big debate (you can read more about the debate here), that has had everyone going crazy trying to figure out if in the ending the totem falls over, and he is back to reality, or does it continue to spin and this is yet another dream. There is no defiant answer, but I believe this is another dream, and the reason that he gets to see his children finally, is because he is accepting that this is his new reality. He cannot escape the dream world, so instead of finding reality, he finds peace in his situation, leading him to his end goal. We don’t see the totem fall over, we only see it wobble, leaving the ending up for interpretation. Cobb accepts his own subjective reality, even if it doesn’t line up with what we believe would be reality, as indicated by the totem falling over. Home was his end goal, whether that is in reality, or if he can only achieve it by staying in a dream. I don’t believe the writer Christopher Nolan wrote it for us to have a sure answer, it’s as subjective as the meaning of reality in the movie. Cobb walks away from the spinning top signifying that the answer no longer matters, if he was concerned with whether he was in a dream, or in reality, he would have stuck around to see if the top fell over, or just kept on spinning. This is the reality that he chooses to accept, he is finally home, no matter what that means to us, it’s reality to him. That was his main goal, and he has finally achieved it, regardless of how.

I read an interview with Nolan that backs up my interpretation of the ending, if you are interested you can read parts of the interview here. Here are a few of the main points he stated. “In the great tradition of these speeches, generally someone says something along the lines of ‘Chase your dreams,’ but I don’t want to tell you that because I don’t believe that. I want you to chase your reality.” Taking from the movie he states that while we are dreaming we aren’t aware of things that don’t make sense until we awaken from our dream, that’s one of his main points of this movie. Dreams aren’t always what we need to be chasing, sometimes we need to make our reality, as good as a dream. This brings so much value to the film, for me at least. As mind boggling as this movie is, there is a huge lesson to be learned, if you look deeper than trying to determine if the top is still spinning at the end. That can’t be you’re main focus, or you are missing the point. Nolan also says “The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality. He didn’t really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black.” While there is no right answer on whether he is back to reality, or not, we need to look past that. As Nolan states “all levels of reality are valid.” It isn’t up to us to determine what his reality should look like, as long as it’s a reality for him.

Whatever side of the Inception debate you stand on, I hope you can agree that there is a deeper value in this film. I challenge you to re watch Inception, and keep the points I have made in mind. I hope you come back to this post with some more points to debate! This is arguably one of the best films I have ever seen. It caused me to think outside of the box,  challenge my own personal views of reality, and to deeply appreciate Nolan’s work of art. There is something to be said about the lack of closure, that makes me want to rewatch this movie, maybe just a few more times.

You can rent the movie to watch on iTunes for $2.99 Here

{Just for fun, go ask Siri [iPhone] what the movie Inception is about}

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Who owns the Plantation?

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When I first read Flannery O’Conners “The displaced person”, I have to admit I wasn’t sure who was the owner of the house, and who was hired help. The way Mrs. Shortley is portrayed in the first paragraph made me assume she was the owner. She is described as how she sees herself I believe, as someone who is higher, than she actually is. She is a character who makes herself easy to dislike. She holds very many prejudices against the polish family the Guziacs, and the African american hired help, whom she refers to as Negros. Even though her family is also hired help.

Her description in the beginning of the story, portrays how she views herself. “She stood on two tremendous legs, with the grand self-confidence of a mountain, and rose up narrowing bulges of granite, to two icy blue points of light that pierced forward, surveying everything.” This description is a good overview of how her character is in this story. She views herself as above everyone else, and she casts a lot of judgment on others. We are never told her exact duties on Mrs. McIntyre’s farm, which is why it took me a little more reading to realize her family was hired help. We know her husband works for Mrs. McIntyre, but her role is never clarified.

Mrs. Shortley and Mrs. McIntyre seem to be close friends, they talk about the other help calling them “sorry people, poor white trash, and niggers.” If Mrs McIntyre viewed her as that way, they wouldn’t have talked about it together. What makes her any different form the other help, I don’t really know, but they are viewed as better than the others. She says ” They’re what is called displaced persons. It means they ain’t where they were born at and there’s nowhere for them to go-like if you was run out of here and wouldn’t nobody have you.” She herself is a displaced person, not any better off than the rest of the hired help. When she gets word that her husband is going to be fired, Mrs. Shortley packs up her family, and drives off with no destination. She has no destination, just as she described the displaced person wouldn’t have a place to go. She in fact is also a displaced person, but she doesn’t see herself as one. She takes her fear of displacement out on those she perceives as inferior to herself. She is a very entitled person, when she learns her husband is going to get fired in a month, she tells him ” You ain’t waiting to be fired!” So she tells him to pack up their car, and they drive off. She wears the pants in the family so to speak, her husband didn’t even ask where they were going until they were already driving away, she seems like the type of lady who has the final say, and this supports that. Not even her husband is willing to question her. Mrs. Shortley isn’t a religious woman, it says in the story ” She had never given much thought to the devil for she felt that religion was essentially for those people who didn’t have the brains to avoid evil without it.”

Mrs. Shortley shaped my whole view of the story. From the beginning I viewed Mrs. McIntyre as the one who followed beneath Mrs. Shortley. Her personality dominated while she was alive, and even after she had died. Her views of the Guziacs stayed in the narrative long after she did. Even once Mrs. Shortley died, she was still the one Mrs. McIntyre looked for when her husband arrived at her door. Even though Mrs. Shortley fled from her work obligations, there weren’t any harboring resentments. ” It took Mrs. McIntyre three days to get over Mrs. Shortley’s death. She told herself that anyone would have thought they were kin. She Rehired Mr. Shortley to do farm work though actually she didn’t want him without his wife.” This right here demonstrates just how much control she had over everyone. Her husband wasn’t the one who wanted to run from the farm in the first place, it was her. She essentially screwed Mrs. McIntyre over, yet she is the one Mrs. McIntyre favors. That sums up a good portion of her character, she was the one who’s personality dominated, yet nobody hated her for it.

Her character is so strong that Mr. Shortley returned to the farm to kill Mr. Guziac. She had believed that he was the devil, and her husband assumed he must be responsible for her death. Even after she is gone, she has a hand in someones murder. He effectively persecutes him by using him being an immigrant in the time of world war II against him. Mr. Shortley got on a large tracker and intentionally or not (that is up for debate) runs over Mr. Guziac, leading to his death. But neither him, nor Mrs. McIntyre did anything to stop it from happening, their silence isn’t up for debate. He wanted to kill Mr. Guziac, and he succeeded.

All in all, Mrs. Shortley was the dominant character in this story. The best word I can think of to describe her is sort of like their ring leader. She was the person with a lot of power, even though in society, she was no better than any of the rest of the characters. Even after she had died, people were still doing things based on what she had said. Her husband killed a man because of her beliefs. I would even go as far to say, that even though she wasn’t physically in the story long, she was the main character. She didn’t own the farm, the workers, or anything, but she did own this story.

“The Displaced Person” Story

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To be the man, I have to be

This isn’t a recent song, but it’s a good one. I used to listen to it as a teenager, and thought it was about a romantic relationship, until I became pregnant with my daughter. When I was pregnant, I was hyper focused on everything baby related, and this song popped up on my iPod while I was on a walk one night. This song is about a man who just learns his lady is pregnant with his child, and his fears and hopes for the little life they have created together. It’s a very emotional time realizing you are going to become a parent, and this song is him mentally processing through those feelings of having a child.

He starts off the song by saying “Well I just heard the news today, it seems my life is going to change, I close my eyes, begin to pray, than tears of joy stream down my face” The writer has just found out his lady is expecting, he is a bit worried so he prays, then realizes how excited he is, and cries tears of happiness. It’s a mix of feelings, and emotions, but he seems like he is excited for the change that is about to happen. The chorus follows with “With arms wide open, under the sunlight, welcome to this place I’ll show you everything, with arms wide open, with arms wide open.” This chorus represents happiness, a genuine welcoming of his baby into this world. He is ready to welcome his baby with open arms, show them what this life is all about, he seems like he is very invested in the baby.

Baby’s don’t come with manuals, which is a bit terrifying, I kind of wish they did. “Well I don’t know if I’m ready, to be the man I have to be, I’ll take a breath, I’ll take her by my side, we stand in awe, we’ve created life.” This line explains best that you just have to take a deep breathe, and try your best to be a good parent. There are no words to describe the moment you see your little baby for the first time, they are so small, and fragile, and they depend on you to survive. You and your partner are on this journey together, you have created a little life. The chorus repeats, except adding “Now everything has changed, I’ll show you love, I’ll show you everything.” The fact that he worries about being a good dad, means that he already is one. His world has changed, and can’t wait to share the rest of his life with his baby, he wants to give them unconditional love, and guidance. That’s really the best any of us can do, make sure our kids are loved beyond measure, and have the tools to become good people.

If you ask any parent what their main wish for their child is, I bet it will be something along the lines of “To not make the same mistakes I did, or, to not end up like me, but become something much better.” He states that towards the ending of the song, he says “If I had just one wish, only one demand, I hope he’s not like me, I hope he understands, that he can take this life, and hold it by the hand, and he can greet the world, with arms wide open.” I took this stanza as him saying that he hopes his son with be gentle, and loving. Approach the world with arms open, don’t be closed off. The world isn’t trying to work against you, it can be beneficial to see the good in everything, and take life on with a smile. Some people think negatively, in turn living negatively. Positive mind, and a positive attitude, can lead to a positive life. This is also the only line where he makes a reference to the baby’s gender, he is having a son. That could be another reason he is projecting so many of his wishes, is so his son can learn from his mistakes. Maybe he didn’t have a father to love, and guide him through life, and he wishes to do better for his son.

There are going to be so many battles his son with face in life, but he will be there for him every step of the way. It’s so nice to hear from the mans prospective about having a child, more often than not, it’s the woman speaking her mind about the life growing inside of her. Men also have fears, and it’s awesome to hear that side of the story. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the most amazing journey of your life, welcome him with arms wide open.

CREED- With arms wide open lyrics

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow

Have you ever had a cold, and couldn’t breathe out of your nose? In that instant you realize you took advantage of the fact that you could breathe before your cold, and now would do anything to go back in time, and you wouldn’t take breathing for granted? That is a great example of what this artist is writing about, not the cold thing, but about taking things for granted you didn’t realize meant so much to you.

The song starts off with “Well you only need the light when it’s burning low, only miss the sun when it starts to snow, only know you love her when you let her go.” All of these lines have the same meaning of taking things for granted, and realizing it when you don’t have them anymore. When the light is going out, is when you realize you need the light, when it’s snowing is when you realize miss the bright, and sunny summer days, and you only realize you love her when it’s to late. We tend to take advantage of things when we have them, or be too blind to see what we have in front of us while it’s there. The second stanza is similar to the first, it gives us more examples of not realizing what you have when you have it. “Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low, only hate the road when you’re missing home, only know you love her when you let her go, and you let her go.” He ends this stanza a bit differently than the first, he ends with “and you let her go.” This to me signifies that he is taking the blame, he understands now that he made a mistake in letting her go. Now that she is gone he realizes that he did in fact love her.

The next two stanzas he goes into a bit of self-reflection. “Staring at the bottom of your glass, hoping one day you’ll make a dream last, but dreams come slow and they go so fast. You see her when you close your eyes, maybe one day you’ll understand why, everything you touch surely dies.” He now is looking inward, and realizing that this is a pattern in his life. He is trying to make sense of why this keeps happening, trying to understand where he is going wrong. The self-reflection is good, maybe he will learn to change his ways in the future, and realize what he has, when he has it. Now he’s stuck with her memories, and he is just trying to make sense of it all, hopefully to keep it from happening again. Admitting the problem is the first step in change, he’s on a good path!

The writer then goes on to repeat the chorus again, followed by “Staring at the ceiling in the dark, same old empty feeling in your heart, ’cause love comes slow and it goes so fast. Well you see her when you fall asleep never to touch and never to keep, because you loved her too much and you dived to deep.” He seems lonely, and regretful of his choices. He can’t get her back, and that he knows, but it still haunts him. His dreams are a different from his reality, I believe he wishes to have her back, but it’s not going to happen.

He ends the song by repeating the chorus three times before ending the song, further drilling in the life lesson of you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. This is a pretty powerful song, the chorus speaks for itself. We don’t always realize what we have until it’s no longer there, and then when it’s to late we realize what we did have, leading to regret. This lesson doesn’t only apply to relationships, but of all aspects of life, just as the chorus states by all of the different examples. The overall lesson that I took away from this song is to not take anything for granted, open your eyes to what you have, when you have it. Thinking of my own life, there are things I take for granted daily, that I should cherish, and many things I wish I could get back. What are some things you have taken for granted when you had it, and later regretted it?

Let her go lyrics

 

 

Do I even Believe?

Mumford & Sons isn’t a band that I listen to often, or really at all, but the tune of this song caught my attention from the first time I listened to it. It has a very calming, uplifting sound, but the lyrics are impactful. The title “Believe” even brings up the simple yet complex question, do I believe?

First, lets clarify what believe means. Believe: to accept or regard something as true, as defined by Merriam Webster. People can believe, or not, in a lot of things, but I think this artist is specifically referring to his belief in god, and where he is struggling with that belief. In Mumford’s personal life he talks about his spiritual journey, and how it’s a “work in progress.” Also how he has separated himself from the “culture of christianity.” This sets the stage for what he is referencing in his song.  ( See the article about Mumford’s feelings towards christianity). In the opening of the song he seems to be talking directly to christians. ” May you call it in this evening, but you’ve only lost the night. Preset all your pretty feelings, may they comfort you tonight” He is referencing prayer, and how at the end of each day people spend their time reflecting about their day to god, and how it’s comforting to have god to lean on at the end of the night. Even if a christian struggles with their faith from time to time, they will return to their belief a bit easier having “only lost the night” instead of having to accept faith from the beginning, faith is less certain for him. He then goes on to say ” and I’m climbing over something, and I’m running through these walls” This is the beginning of him admitting he is struggling with the idea of god himself, it seems to be a unguided search, and he isn’t sure where to go.

The chorus repeats the verse ” I don’t even know if I believe everything you’re trying to say to me.” He isn’t taking what christians are telling him as truth. Their faith may bring up questions, which lead to his doubts. Some people are willing to take anything, anyone says as fact, he doesn’t seem to be this type of person. He isn’t saying they are wrong, but he realizes he is doubting his own faith and needs more answers. He continues his questioning of christians faith in the next verse ” I’ve had the strangest feeling, your world’s not all it seems, so tired of misconceiving, what else this could’ve been” Reading the bible can raise up a lot of questions for someone in the middle of a faith crisis, what about evolution? What about fossils? How exactly was the world created in 7 days? and so on. Some people are so set on what the bible says, that they ignore questions they can’t answer, or if it’s not written in the bible they think it can’t be possible. He seems to be questioning these types of things, and they have no answer when he asks “what else this could’ve been.”

In the next verse his focus seems to shift from christians to god himself. “so open up my eyes, tell me I’m alive, this is never gonna go our way, if I have to guess whats on your mind” He is asking god to make it clear to him that he exists, to “open up” his eyes, he needs some type of gratification. He doesn’t need people telling him what, or why to believe, he needs a sign from god. The writer seems tired of trying to figure it out himself, tired of guessing, but is very open to idea of faith, just needs a clear-cut sign. The instrumentals pick up here as he says ” say something, say something, something like you love me” in a desperate plea for a sign that god loves him, and essentially has his back, giving him the comfort of gods presence throughout his life. I think the christian religion itself has drawn him away from the relationship with god that he wants. He says ” less you wanna move away, from the noise of this place” You don’t need the “noise” such as a church, worship team, or hundreds of people in order to have a relationship with god. You can sit on your couch and talk to him if that’s what works for you, I think he may find the church as a whole distracting, wanting to get to know god on a more personal level.

He goes on to repeat the chorus, but worded a bit differently. ” Well I don’t even know if I believe (x2)  I don’t even know if I wanna believe”  Adding the words well, and wanna, change the meaning of the chorus. He goes from telling us ” I don’t even know if I believe”     meaning he isn’t sure, but there is nothing in that sentence stating that he has given up on finding his faith. The reworded chorus poses a different question. “Well”  by definition of how it’s used in this line adds the element of reluctancy, a pause to consider ones next words. Which backs up his reluctancy towards faith that is mentioned again,and again throughout the song. Instead of saying ” I don’t even know if I believe” like he did in the middle of the song, he now says ” I don’t even know if I wanna believe” He doesn’t even seem like he is willing to sort through his confusing thoughts in order to connect to faith anymore. He was open to the idea of god,and faith earlier, he just had doubts. But now he doesn’t even know if it’s worth it, as if he has given up on the idea completely.

The music video has the same visual context, as it does lyrical. It’s someone driving through London at night. Driving past historical monuments such as Big Ben (minute 1:34.) The person is swerving through traffic, driving past the blurred lights, the camera zooms in and out of focus. This signifies a search, such as the search for god. The whole music video is just the driver seems to be aimlessly driving, having no direction. The music video ends by focusing on a bench, with the city lights shining below (minute 3:36.) The bench signifying something higher than ourselves, such as god. After seeming to be lost, he finds his way to the bench. This resembles what he hopes to be his relationship to god. After being lost in the search, he ultimately hopes to end up with a belief in god.

Originally, I thought this song was about a romantic relationship, until I really listened to the lyrics. I can see where some could take it as him speaking about a woman, but if you listen closely you will see that it can’t be about a woman. There is no reference to a female anywhere in this song, it speaks of something more abstract than that, not something as clear-cut as a person. No reference to their relationship, her personality, looks, what he loves about her, or why he wants to work it out. He spends no time building up a story of their relationship. When reading about Mumford & sons I learned that they have a history of singing about struggling with their faith. This article lists all the songs that Mumford sings about faith for you, so it’s a safe bet to say their songs aren’t usually about women, but of something greater.

This is a lyrically intense song, with lots of meaning. I really appreciate how open this is on an emotional level. Mumford & Sons is a band that produces music that is beyond sounding good, and pulls you in with the lyrics. I look forward to listening to some more of their music, and I hope you will take some time to sit back with a glass of wine and appreciate their talent!

Mumford & Sons – Lyrics

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How to save a life, or how to try

 

fray

The Fray’s song “How to save a life” was on the Billboard hot 100 songs for 58 consecutive weeks, and for a very good reason, it’s relatable, which I wish it wasn’t. When I first heard this song I thought it was about a man who was in conflict with one of his best friends, which wasn’t entirely inaccurate, but there is so much more to be said about this song. This is a post containing some talk about suicide, just a forewarning to any of my readers who may be sensitive to the subject. That being said, let’s get to it.

THE FRAY – How to save a life lyrics

THE FRAY – How to save a life music video

The opening of the song makes me believe that this is based off of a real personal experience, due to the the placement of the quotation marks. It’s written as,

Step one, you say “We need to talk” he walks, you say “Sit down, it’s just a talk”

Since the writer is using quotation marks in his lyrics, I assume that this song is based on an actual conversation he has had with someone. He talks about how he sees through his friends fake smile, and depression. He is there trying to help his friend deal with whatever it is thats weighing him down, but his friend keeps placing the blame on himself. Either his friend isn’t open to his help, or he isn’t willing to listen and take advice. Reaching out to someone with depression is the first step in trying to get them to realize that they aren’t alone, the man cares about his friend. He asks himself why he came to help, because he doesn’t feel that it’s working, or that he’s getting through to his friend.

The verses of the song I believe are explaining to the listener how to help someone who is on the brink of suicide, yet the chorus is him speaking in first person, which is why I believe this is a true story. The chorus is ” Where did i go wrong? I lost a friend, somewhere along in the bitterness, and I would have stayed up with you all night, had I known how to save a life” It now becomes clear to me that the writer is placing the blame on himself for not being able to help. He thinks that if he would have done more, his friend would still be alive. That is a hard line to swallow, I can feel his guilt. He couldn’t have known how to keep his friend from committing suicide, yet he still feels guilty for not staying with him and figuring it out. The word bitterness stuck out to me. As if the writer and his friend ended their talk with an argument, it’s hard to understand someone struggling with depression, he probably left frustrated, and feeling helpless, which could add to his guilt. Since these words are the chorus, which is repeated multiple times throughout the song, I feel like this is significant. Losing a friend to suicide is hard, but to have a sense of responsibility for it makes the loss that much harder to bear.

There is a line in the song that leads me to believe the writer went into the conversation with good intentions, but was doing more talking than listening. ” Let him know that you know best, because after all you do know best.” Nobody knows what the suicidal person is dealing with, only the one who is struggling. Going into a conversation like that, being a know it all, is the opposite of what they need. The best thing that you can do for some with depression is to simply listen. The writer seems like he did genuinely want to help, and at the time he thought what he was doing was helping. In his music video the word listen is written on a board, but that word is nowhere in his lyrics. I assume that the writer did reflect back and realize that maybe he just needed to listen instead of give advice. He did a fantastic job connecting with his listeners. I can visualize sitting with a friend trying to talk them down from their suicidal thoughts, or picturing his conversation with his friend. This you feel the song even deeper, because you are connecting with the two people.

The main theme that reoccurs in this song is helplessness, and guilt. Helplessness, because he couldn’t keep his friend from committing suicide. As his friend he wishes he could have been able to help him, let him see his worth through his eyes. Guilt, because he didn’t try harder, or stay longer with him. He didn’t just listen, he tried to tell him how to fix it, instead of being open to what his friend was trying to say. Now he has to live his life without his friend, and the what if’s are haunting. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, or suicidal thoughts please contact the Suicide Helpline.

THE FRAY – behind the song “How to save a life”

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