While writing new content soon, I would at least like to have a first “real” post with a little of what I was talking about in terms of viewing literature in a new light. I know as an English major there are a lot of things I have read that othe’rs may not have, and those will NOT be a lot of the things I am going to be writing about in the future. However, until I have some of the new content ready to be published, I decided to re-edit a few of my past papers to see if this is the direction I would like to keep heading.
For those of you readers who do not know, I am a die-hard Rush fan (yes, the band from the 70’s and 80’s…). While I was in an American Lit class I was asked to connect the texts we read during the semester to something completely out of context– and of course I picked a Rush song. I hope the rest explains itself.
[Disclaimer: These were texts I was forced to read/write about. I’m not going to lie, they were old, dry, and pretty boring (maybe not Huck Finn, but…) Not exactly what I would have picked to write about, and will not be headed back down that path anytime soon, but I still thought it was a good example of the stuff I could do no matter how boring the actual literature part was.]
The feeling of being trapped in a financial situation that you don’t want to be in is a feeling of total desperation. The feeling of being trapped in an economic situation that is even harder to get out of is pure terror. I saw examples of this in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning, Langston Hughes’s poetry and other stories I read, all for different reasons. When listening the band Rush, the lyrics describe human nature. More specifically, the 1982 song “Subdivisions” from the album Signals describes the urgent feeling to get away as well. It tells of the narrow-mindedness of some people, and how judgmental society as a whole is. Listening to this song can expand some of the text and create a more guttural, physical, and emotional connection/reaction to each of them.
“Sprawling on the fringes of the city/…In between the bright lights/ and the far unlit unknown”: We have encountered many characters that have had similar feelings. First, Huck Finn and Jim from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were fleeing for their freedom. Huck was fleeing his drunken father and the stigma he imposed on him in the town. Jim was fleeing from slavery into a free world he knew nothing about. Neither one being accepted into society forced them into a state of abandonment and the journey of a lifetime.
“Growing up it all seems so one sided/ opinions all provided/ the future pre-decided/detached and subdivide/ in the mass production zone./Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone”: In Faulkner’s Barn Burning, our protagonist Sarty is a young boy whose father tests his family loyalty with almost every move they make. The story opens with the boy being asked to tell a “jury” whether or not he saw his father burn down a barn. Had he been given the chance to speak, would he have told the truth? Because the adults never let him answer we can see the authority over him is more than overbearing and he is not able to make his own decisions. He has been transplanted so many times, but he still dreamt that the new farm his family moved to would finally be a home. He was partially right. We never find out what happens to him after the story ends, but it is left that after his father lit the last fire, and ultimately died because of him, Sarty is left while his family moves on.
“Drawn like moths we drift into the city/ the timeless old attraction/ cruising for the action/ lit up like a firefly/ just to feel the living night”: In Daisy Miller: A Study, Daisy is a whimsical, careless, thrill seeking young woman. Her family is vacationing in Europe because they have new money and want to see the world, but Daisy is the one who is taking the trip for everything it is worth. Her American life was not as grand as the one she had in Europe and she wanted to experience everything she could, even if that meant being overly flirtatious with the men and negligent with others’ warnings. After being confined for so long it was time for her to be set free. Unfortunately for her, because of her carelessness she got ill and passed. But she was happy, the very thing she was searching for all along.
“Some sell their dreams for small desires/ or lose the race to rats”: Without hope, all dreams are sold short of what they are worth. Langston Hughes was one of those writers who never gave up on his dreams. He promoted the acknowledgment necessary for African Americans to take strength in themselves and strive for societal changes in their cultural citizenship. Writers such as Hughes and Nora Zeale Hurston, created a history of power and truth. Social equality has come a long way from when they were writing, but many of Hughes’s words can be applied today to current racism and social injustices. In “Mother to Son” the much quoted lines provide strength for anyone who thinks it is easier to just quit; “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair/… Don’t you set down on the steps/ ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard./… I’se still climbin’,/ And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”.
Everyone has had the feeling where they just don’t belong. It is an awful feeling. But for many characters and instances in the texts we have read it is not just a fleeting feeling. It is their life, and the feeling is something they can’t escape. But as Rush illustrates in the song, it is natural to want to flee. It is society’s desire to fit norms and have all inhabitants conform to what is ‘normal’ that creates the desire to escape. But by using some thematic arguments from these texts and uniting their words with the words of the song, it is easy to see that we are not alone and we all have the same desire to run away instead of change who we are.
If you have made it this far without falling asleep, I would like to congratulate you. I would also like to ask that you leave a comment and let me know what you think AND/OR what you would like to read about (book or topic) in the future. I would also like to urge you to actually listen to the song “Subdivisions”; I don’t know if I would have made it out of high-school without it.
I will probably be posting a few more of my old papers in the upcoming days… I am actually planning on posting the “most-prized thesis” in 5 PARTS- a post a day- next week! Keep your eyes open to the possibilities, and let me feel the love below! ❤