The Beatles, one of the most famous bands in the world, have many great songs. “Eleanor Rigby” is definitely one of them. The song was written primarily by Paul McCartney. There are only two characters mentioned in the song, and Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie, and the entire story happens in the church. Eleanor Rigby picks up rice after a wedding and wearing a face the she “keeps in a jar”. Father McKenzie always writes boring words at his sermon and darns his socks in the night, day and night to repeat. They all live in their own world.
Finally Eleanor Rigby died in the church and nobody will remember her, Father McKenzie is the only guy who comes to her funeral and hosts the ceremony. Besides the great contributions on the music side, “Eleanor Rigby” also provides us a gate way to learn the life in 1960s, and those behaviors in 60s affect our modern society. First of all, from the song we can have general knowledge about the living conditions in the 60s. The song published on the Beatles 1966 album Revolver. At that time, people were under the post war depression of the World War II, the economics grew slowly and the unemployed rate was high .
The song was written under such circumstances, it reflects the people’s feelings and behaviors at that time. At the beginning and the end of the song ask the same question “All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong? ” (The Beatles, Line 7, 8, 21 and 22). This kind of question is always asked by people in 50s or 60s generations, we call it the Beat Generations, the answer is they all live in our own world; they belong to them and them all “liv [ed] in a dream. ” (The Beatles, Line 4).
That’s why Eleanor has “a face that she keeps in a jar by the door. (The Beatles, Line 5). People wear a face do not let others to see the real side of them, so that they can hide their real emotions. And she “waits at the window” (The Beatles, Line 5). “Who is it for? ” (The Beatles, Line 6). However, until Eleanor dead whoever she was waiting for never came, “Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name. Nobody came. ” (The Beatles, Line 17 and 18). On the other hand, Father McKenzie, “writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear. No-one comes near. ” (The Beatles, Line 9 and 10). Why won’t anyone hear Father McKenzie’s sermon?
In that generation, people are tend to be religions skepticism, they suspect everything even themselves. So there is no one hear Father McKenzie’s sermon and no one near him. Also, no one came to the Eleanor Rigby’s funeral can illustrate that people not believe what they use to believe. Moreover, the lyric shows the apathetic of the people like Father McKenzie. He “wip[es] the dirt from his hand as he walks from the grave. ”(The Beatles, Line 19) focus on the action “wiping the dirt from his hand” looks like Father McKenzie just did his job and there is no emotion involved he did not feel anything about the death of Eleanor Rigby.
In the 60s people were tend to be like Father McKenzie, they were numb, they did not have any emotions among other people that is why they are all lonely people. On the other hand, those emotions from the song also affect people in today’s society. In 2008 the global financial crisis began, many government nearly bankrupted, and people start losing their jobs. As the results for that people were seeing things like there lost their house, their family broken up and things they work for years do not exist anymore.
So the feeling of loneliness appears at that time. Just like people in 60s, they start ask question like where are they belong and where are the go. People start hides their real emotions just like Eleanor Rigby has “a face that she keeps in a jar by the door. ” (The Beatles, line 5). Also, after so many years believed in god, the god did not actually help them went the crises happened, and people start suspect their beliefs, just like no one hear Father McKenzie’s sermon and “no one come near. ” (The Beatles, line 12).
Additionally, people like Father McKenzie who are apathetic, so many things happened to them so that they became numb in order to hide the emotions, they do not care about other people like Father McKenzie “wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave. ” (The Beatles, line 19). In general, the song “Eleanor Rigby” mainly talks about loneliness thought the two characters, and the emotions thought out the loneliness such as stoicism, suspect and apathetic. Also the song uses the characters life and behavior to indicate the lives in 60s and has a great empathy to our modern life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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