Home with You


Heartache is powerful. And on “home with you”, FKA twigs makes us feel her woes as she pulls us through a 3 minute journey of her romantic relationship. The song is apart of her larger work MAGDALENE, which is the artists’ first studio album. The title is an ode to Mary Magdalene, the saint who famously witnessed the resurrection of Jesus and was one of his first followers. Historians suggest that Mary was Jesus’ close confidante, and she had a crucial role in healing people as a disciple. FKA twigs connected with Mary’s story and created an album where she navigates loss, love, and the conflict of staying authentic as a musician.

The opening lines expose the uncensored perspective of a girlfriend. She doesn’t shy away from her emotions, which clarifies what the central idea is and strengthens the song’s message. It starts with FKA twigs talking about how she’s in a headspace to focus on her relationship, devoted to her partner fully, and indulge in the love that her partner can give her. But she also battles with insecurity and doesn’t know if she is worthy of them. In the line “When I get my lessons learned, Apples, cherries, pain” she is showing how her positive attitude is tapering off and instead of sweetness, she reverts to focusing on the difficulty of her relationship. She then starts to talk about how the people who were her support system only reach out to her because she is more successful now. It makes her question which people want to be in her life for genuine reasons, including her partner. The verse ends without her gaining clarity, and this displays how her romantic love is distracting her from reaching a resolution to her internal conflicts. The songwriting technique of a proposed question with no concrete answer makes the listener feel idle, as if love is just as powerful when no action is taking place. The love occupies space in her mind and forces her to question what, if anything, is more important than loving others.

"I've never seen a hero like me in a sci-fi 
So I wonder if your needs are even meant for me"

In the quoted line, she is talking about the lack of representation for Black women in science fiction. She hasn’t seen examples of women who look like her being the protector and hero, which damages her capability to connect with that trait. The media that people absorb shapes who they are as individuals, and in the absence of good role models it’s more difficult to learn how to interact. Specifically, technology and social media have made younger generations rely heavier on seeing their favorite characters personify their values. Throughout the next lines she sings softly, almost as if she is whispering and unsure if she wants her partner to know about her ignorance as a lover. A certain embarrassment stems from her ignorance and she begins repeating the line “If you’d have just told me, I’d be home with you”, which shows that even though she doesn’t have the experience of being a hero, her passion gives her the courage to try and love unconditionally.

"But I'd save a life if I thought it belonged to you 
Mary Magdalene would never let her loved ones down" 

She emphasizes that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. One means that there is no love present at all, and the other is that the love is there when she is as well. She doesn’t want her partner to feel lonely and pushes herself to embody the selflessness of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was a saint, but for centuries her significance was reduced to being a prostitute. Despite the gossip and ostracization she faced, Mary still chose to heal and project love onto others. FKA twigs is following suit and even though she doesn’t have the most positive view of herself, she would risk everything for her partner. Mary Magdalene was misjudged by others, and FKA twigs represents the perspective of people who have a harsh judgement of themselves. Additionally, the metaphor of being home symbolizes how she chooses to be present for the one she loves and see herself entirely. By being home and not far away in the entanglement of her insecurities, she is consequently repairing the self-doubt that harbors within herself.

The central idea of the song is that even when it feels vulnerable and uncertain, relying on the love you have for another person is the best choice. FKA twigs does not know how her relationship is going to end, but she knows that at any given moment she’d go to be with the person she loves. She leans into the love she shied away from at the beginning of the song, and it works out in her favor. Love drives her to be firmer in her conviction and the connection that she has in her relationship. FKA twigs wants people to understand a message that extends beyond her personal experience. The larger theme portrayed in “home with you” is that love prompts you to change, and being receptive to that change is the only way to mold happiness from pain and heartache.

The Myth of Meursault

Camus’ argument about Sisyphus is about the existential outlook on life. He references the myth as a way to connect how Sisyphus pushing a boulder for eternity demonstrates how some people are in control of their fate, while others are merely a pawn in it. Before being condemned to push the rock, Sisyphus was able to see the beauties of the world, like the sparkling sea and smiles of the Earth. And when the rock descends to the bottom, it reminds man of the joys of life and depresses him further, this is how the rock wins. But in contrast, Sisyphus’ motivation to go down to the bottom and try again, knowing it’s pointless, shows how strong-willed he is. Camus argues that everyday people have the same conditions as Sisyphus, but Sisyphus is happy because he knows the extent of his life and can therefore recognize himself as the controller of his destiny. As Camus says, “his fate belongs to him.”

When you examine Camus’ essay on Sisyphus alongside The Stranger, it would be difficult to figure out which one came first if you didn’t know already. The stories are interconnected because Meursault’s story is one where he was in control of his fate, and Sisyphus took control after laboring aimlessly for 10,000 years. If it were a competition, Meursault would definitely have the bragging rights since he figured it out way faster. Meursault was proactive instead of reactive to his surroundings, and didn’t succumb to the expectations of his peers. And overall, I feel the most powerful takeaway from Camus’ writing was its emphasis on autonomy, and how when humans eliminate outside distractions and embrace our own values is when we can truly dictate our destiny.

A Capitalist Commentary on The Elephant Vanishes

“The most important point is unity..even the most beautifully designed item dies if it is out of balance with its surroundings. (37)”

This short story opens with an unraveling investigation of a town’s elephant. The townspeople, or pupils, as the narrator describes them, aren’t too affected by the disappearance since they didn’t value the elephant’s presence anyways. The noun choice of “pupils” symbolizes how the citizens aren’t a community, but rather a collective. They organize for the sake of self-interest. Specifically, they keep the elephant after learning the town would gain full possession of the elephant’s land after it dies. I recognized the irony in the pupils only reaching an agreement once money was involved, and they tolerated the elephant in exchange for it. We know that this elephant is old, and it’s hardly a threatening creature. And although it wasn’t neglected by the townspeople, it surely wasn’t valued as a product of nature. I found it interesting how the short story highlighted the main idea that things we can profit from are only tolerated when they remain useful, and the dynamic shifts once this is no longer the case.

The reference the narrator makes to unity and balance is extended throughout the second half of the text. He uses this anecdote as a selling point for his job, but it also connects to the idea that When that respect and appreciation is lost, it doesn’t foster a nurturing environment. When the townspeople became fearful, like the only lady who stated she was “..afraid to let my children out to play, (36)”, it reconstructed the balance that the town had formed with the elephant. This balance of cohabitation was changed once the elephant vanished, making it no longer relevant and susceptible to villainization by the pupils. And as the narrator leads us along the story, we learn that even these negative feelings fade and turn into indifference. No one cares about the elephant anymore. Even speculation about its whereabouts doesn’t spark action to bring the elephant back, which further demonstrates how money is the ultimate motivator in this story.

Semplica Girls and the Interaction of Mutual Recognition

Semplica Girls and Lilly work toward mutual recognition when she interviews the girls for school. She goes beyond acknowledging the SGs by their Greenway names and worked on learning about their diverse backgrounds. Lilly’s interview took steps to treat them as equals, and SGs told her the stories that demonstrate they are complex people who have experienced life in a variety of ways. One SG, Januka, expressed that her name means “happy ray of sun,” and that her home country was in Laos. Rather than reducing the SGs to products of their less-developed countries, like her parents had, Lilly was able to educate her classmates about the authenticity of the Semplica Girls. In return, Lilly was mutually acknowledged by the school environment that allowed her to present her project. One could assume that the public school system would perpetuate the views of the outside world, and potentially agree with the objectification of SGs since students were educated on the Microlining process. However, in the context of the school project, Lilly was still able to share her views that opposed popular opinion.