The Beatles and A Noiseless Patient Spider

The Beatles record, Eleanor Rigby, which is a part of the Revolver 1966 album expresses life living in solitude. This song was one of the first introductions to psychedelic music and shares many connections to poems written by Emily Dickinson. The Beatles used this song to empathize for the lonely, particularly by focusing on an isolated old woman and the limited connections she had made. To many, this song felt as though it was telling a short story, possibly because it was based on real characters but also because of the many literary techniques packed in it. The most substantial elements being the use of imagery, repetition, metaphors and allusion. 

Imagery is used as a mechanism to bring to life and illustrate lonely women. At the beginning of the song Eleanor “Picks up the rice in the church where the wedding has been” and “lives in a dream”. Further reiterating the image of a lonely unmarried woman who despises such social events. 

Another example of literary devices is the line describing Eleanor by one who keeps “wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door”. In other words, this implies the facade she puts on and specifically the fake smile that she often leaves“by the door”. Although she appears happy, in reality she is miserable and finds ways to cover up the internal pain she truly faces. Later, Paul McCartney states that she was buried along with her name,” suggesting both literally and metaphorically her isolation after death. Essentially, when she is buried her name is too, and she is completely forgotten. Given these examples, the idea entailed is that even when Eleanor helped in the church and attempted to help others, ultimately she is easily forgotten once she died. 

Another important aspect is the repetition of “lonely people” which is seen throughout the song. The word “lonely” helps guide the audience to understand the sadness and despair within the story, and the particular ways in which this word promotes the struggles of those in solitude. 

Both “Eleanor Rigby” and A Noiseless Patient Spider obtain many overarching concepts following the struggles of those who are lonely.  A Noiseless Patient Spider is based upon an isolated spider trying to find connections while building its web. “Eleanor Rigby” is a parallel example as she struggles to form connections and is quickly forgotten due to her life in isolation.

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