* How does the use of simile contribute to the persona’s expression of alienation? (2 marks)
The simile “just like an angel, you’re skin makes me cry” compares the object of the persona’s desire to an angel, an ethereal being, in order to convey how unreachable and unapproachable she seems to him, thus contributing to his expression of alienation.
* What is the effect of the repetition of the word “perfect”?(2 marks) The repetition of the word “perfect” emphasises the importance of achieving perfection to the persona.
* Is the use of obscenity effective? Why? Why not? (2 marks) I believe the use of obscenity in this song is effective as it conveys the frustration and anger the persona feels at not belonging as well as his jealousy towards those who do. (“You’re so f**ing special, I wish I was special”)
* How would you describe the tone of this song? (2 marks) The tone in this song ranges from calm and quiet reflection in the verses to anger and frustration during the choruses.
* How is contrast used in these lyrics? (2 marks)
The lyrics in the songs opening contain very soft, gentle imagery of things like angels and floating feathers “in a beautiful world.” Contrast is then created through the use of obscenity and a change from poetic language into blunt speech (“What the hell am I doing here?”) This contrast heightens the impact the persona’s anger and frustration over not belonging has upon listeners, emphasising how strongly he has been emotionally affected by it. [That contrast is much greater, by the way, when you listen to the scala & kolacny brothers choir sing it because they’re children and their voices are so angelic, contributing to the angelic imagery in the lyrics]
* How is a sense of realism and verisimilitude created through these lyrics? (5 marks) The realism in this song is achieved through the use of obscenity and the frank tone to lines like “What the hell am I doing here?” A sense of verisimilitude is also established through the use of slang words such as “creep” and “weirdo” which contextualise the song as describing what could be seen as a typical aspect of the teenage experience.
Realism = achieved through obscenity, straight-talking, conversational-style (2nd person pronoun?) Verisimilitude = Perhaps to the teen, this is such a typical thing feeling like a “creep” and a “weirdo” just because you don’t belong.
How do these lyrics contribute to your understanding of the Area of Study “Belonging”? (10 marks)
These lyrics reinforce my understanding of the need to belong as an essential aspect of human nature that stems, in part, from a belief that there is a benefit in belonging; that it brings with it privileges which cannot be found in isolation. They also highlight for me the irony in people wanting to belong in order to “be special,” as the persona puts it, when in fact it is not belonging that really makes someone stand out as an individual.
The persona in this song wants to belong with a person he uses simile to describe as an “angel,” a symbol of perfection. The repetition of “perfect” in the lyrics of the song emphasises the importance of achieving perfection to the persona, because it will allow him to belong with this “angel.” The persona is even jealous of the angel for being so “perfect” and “special”, as conveyed through the tone of jealous anger created by the use of obscenity in the line, “You’re so f**ing special / I wish I was special.”
The persona thinks that if he can be “perfect” like the angel then he too will be special and privileged. The irony of the song is that it is clear to the reader that it is the persona, and not the angel, who is really special. The persona is “special,” or different from what is usual, because he does not belong. If he were to be “perfect” like the angel then he would be just another beautiful person “in a beautiful world.” In other words, he would become ordinary.
To conclude, the lyrics of this song show me how essential the need to belong is in humans and how this stems from a belief that there is a privilege in belonging; that it makes you special. More importantly, however, the lyrics demonstrate that, ironically, it is actually through not belonging that we make ourselves stand out as unique individuals.
Courtney from Study Moose
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