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Critical Analysis Of "Bird On The Wire" By Leonard Cohen.

1043 words - 4 pages

Leonard Cohen has had a long and illustrious career as a poet and a songwriter. The Canadian songwriter has written many popular songs, and we all have at least one of his tunes stored up in the recesses of our minds. However, there are a certain few of Cohen's that stand above the rest. Songs that were hits, and songs that in fact helped shape the period of time they were created in. "Suzanne", "Bird on the Wire", and "So Long, Marianne" are a couple of these elite creations of Cohen's mind. During this paper I will be analyzing the song "Bird on the Wire", interpreting its meaning and explaining what it is saying. This song was one of Cohen's most famous songs, and was very influential during the '60's- a time of turmoil and unrest. It has been covered by more artists, including Johnny Cash, than any of his other songs, and it is a prime example of Cohen's signature style. The song is separated into two large sections, but after reading and thinking about it, you realize there are really six small sections to it.The poem opens by giving you a first impression about the person speaking throughout the song. Lines 1-3 of the first stanza show the speaker trying to escape his problems, so that he can be "free". He wants to be "Like a bird on the wire" (L1), meaning he wants to be able to sit above and away from his problems. He also alludes to becoming "Like a drunk in a midnight choir". A drunk is able to escape his worries and be carefree through drinking. The "midnight choir", refers to all the people drinking, partying and making noise at night.This section is important to the poem because it helps you realize the situation and feelings of the speaker. This section also uses good imagery through allusions, such as "bird on the wire", and "drunk in the midnight choir".After highlighting the speaker's situation, Cohen introduces another character. Lines 4-6 show how the speaker has given everything to this person ("I have saved all my ribbons for thee" (L6)), whom the speaker loves.This section uses excellent imagery through symbolism. Line 4, "Like a worm on a hook", and line 5, "like a knight from some old-fashioned book", are excellent allusions showing how the speaker is going to give everything he has earned and captured, just like a worm captures a fish, and a knight captures trophies.Having introduced the object of the speaker's affection, Cohen develops more of the relationship. Lines 7-10 show an apology from the speaker to this other person. The speaker says "if I have been unkind", then "I hope you can just let it go by"(L7/8). This section is important, because it shows the conflict between the speaker and this other person, and it also gives you a hint to the cause of his problems he is trying to escape.After showing how the speaker is trying to escape his problems, and how his problems involve this "other person", the next section begins to show the cause...

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