Another Ed Sheeran Song

Ed Sheeran’s song “Eraser” from his Divide album, conveys the experience of a struggling musician. The story explains the difficulties that can come with this career choice like family jealousy, financial problems, and the standard that musicians should be happy because they are following their dreams and it was their choice to be ‘impractical.’ This musician has gone on a journey to get to where he is now and in order to cope with all of the stress that comes with it, he used alcohol and drugs to numb and erase all of the pain away.

In the first verse Sheeran sings,

"And when the world's against me is when I really come alive." 

Sheeran uses hyperbole to explain how the speaker feels under all of the pressure he is feeling. Obviously the whole world is not against him, it is an exaggeration, but this shows how stressful the industry can be. I think that the emotions that occur when life is just not going the way you want it to and bad things keep happening is a relatable experience to many. This hyperbole also shows the strength of alcoholism. Stress can spark a desire to drink drink more which explains why the speaker uses it as a coping mechanism. I think that this can also be a use of personification because the eraser becomes alive when there is more stress. When the speaker becomes overwhelmed those are the best times to use the pain eraser.

Sheeran uses a lot of metaphors to describe his journey,

'To be caught up in the trappings of the industry
Show me the locked doors, I'll find another use for the key
And you'll see" 

Sheeran compares locked doors to the journey he had to overcome to get to where he is now. When he says “I’ll find another use for the key,” he explains all of the different situations in which he had to find a different way to accomplish his end goal. He could not just unlock the door with a key he would have to kick it down or something in order to take steps positively impacting his career.

In the final chorus Sheeran sings,

"And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser
And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser
And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser
And I'll find comfort in my pain eraser"

Sheeran uses repetition to demonstrate how difficult it was to live with this situation and how much alcohol helped him through it. Since he repeats the line four times, I think it represents how he needed to reassure himself that his life was going to get better and that he would eventually be a successful musician. However for the time being, this was going to be how he got through daily life. Repeating it convinced himself that it was an acceptable action to take part in. The repetition helps tell the story because it shows how he struggled through the experience and how he could only rely on himself and alcohol.

Sheehan uses hyperbole, metaphors, and repetition to convey his story of a drunk and struggling musician who ends up being successful but with the help of no one but himself.

Why Can They See Color?

Color is a motif throughout Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I think that color has many different meanings in the book. It often symbolizes very specific things such as how the color red represents the traumatic experiences of the past and the desire to forget them. More importantly, I think that it is intentionally used to demonstrate the transition into becoming a complete human being.

Color shows up a lot after Baby Suggs’ and Sethe’s escapes and during the characters present life. Color represents emotions which is important because even though slaves can have emotions it shows how they are not valued because they are not treated as people. They are not able to have emotions or other human behaviors because they are not treated like them. When describing Baby Suggs death Sethe says “…pondered color her last years. She never had time to see, let alone enjoy it before…I don’t believe she wanted to get to red and I understand why because me and Beloved outdid ourselves with it” (237). Even after they escaped into the north there was still a possibility that they could be caught and taken back into the south. Even if this possibility did not occur they were treated differently because of the color of their skin. I think that she is able to see more color as she approaches death because she is starting to become the most free version of herself, a soul. She is no longer lesser than anyone because what divided her, her body, is no longer there. You are able to see color when you reach freedom because only then are you able to have emotions.

Foreign People Who Are Not Foreign to Each Other

“In this group, everyone was foreign, and so, in a sense, no one was” (106). After Saeed and Nadia travel through the door and arrive in Mykonos, they realize that there are not many people from their country. However there are a lot of migrants. This line spoke to me because it describes part of the migrant experience. Saeed and Nadia have to quickly learn how to adapt in order to survive. There are many people in the human refugee camp with the intent to survive and eventually get out of it.

This is something that all of the migrants are able to share, they carry the same experiences. The migrants are connected through many different aspects but the most prominent one is that they are all from different countries. They are still foreign to the natives of Greece but within the migrant community they are not out of place from each other because they are all experiencing the same thing and are all from different places. They are brought together since they are all so different and come from different backgrounds.

All of them posses these qualities and are able to use it as something that unites them instead of separates them. I think this line effectively shows the migrant community which is an important aspect in the book. Hamid demonstrates the migrant life and it is different than what I expected. I thought that migrants would be living very independent and individual lives and although this can sometimes be the case, there is a community full of people who possess similar experiences. I thought that this was very interesting and made me reconsider how I think of migrants. They live a very difficult life that is constantly fluctuating and full of worry. Migrants do not have it easy but there are other people with similar situations which should be seen as a positive thing.

Nadia and Saeed may be some of the only people they encounter from their country during their migrant journey. Everyone in this camp is foreign so they are not foreign to each other.

Existentialism in the Trial

I think that one of the most interesting parts of The Stranger, is the trial. The main focus of Meursault’s trial is how he reacted to his mothers death, not that he killed a man. Meursault is being convicted since he is an existentialist, he is living how he wants to instead of following societies constraints. Killing a man is unimportant to his trial even though that is the only crime that he committed.

I think that this is a very interesting point because it shows how society views those who do not fit into its norms. If you do not follow the societal norms then you will be punished which is why Mersault is executed. He did not cry at his mother’s funeral and after it he went to watch a movie with Marie. When someone who is supposed to be important to you dies, such as your mom, society expects that you mourn for a long period of time. Everyone is supposed to be sad when an immediate family member dies and while I agree that this is a very sad time I think that everyone has different relationships with their family. I believe that family, friends, and happiness are some things that do give a meaning to life however existentialism does have a point in that everyone has an individual way of living life. I think that a valid question could be whether Meursault was wrongfully convicted since his trial was primarily based off of his feelings towards his mother. I think that this is also something to be considered in our justice system. Do societal norms have an impact on how people are tried? I am unsure on the answer to this questions but I do find it interesting that Meursault’s entire trial was about his mother instead of the fact that he killed a man.

A Search for an Elephant and a Deeper Meaning

The ending of the Elephant Vanishes left me unsettled. I do not believe that the elephant simply vanished however, Haruki Murakami did not leave us with much to interpret. While I read this story I was continuously on the search for a deeper meaning. Since there was no satisfying ending I tried to look for something that would put me at ease.

I think one of the main themes in this story is balance. The author brings it up in two ways, the size of the elephant and the keeper at the end of the story and in the narrator’s life.

Balance also plays a role at the end when the keeper and elephant are described as being the same size. Physically they are balanced because they are the same size. I think this balance helps the elephant and keeper achieve mutual recognition. Aside from being balanced physically they have a relationship different than most that allows them to think of each other differently. The narrator almost describes this as an intimate relationship where they are able to communicate with each other on a different level. The keeper does not believe that he is superior to the elephant and ending the story with them as the same size reduces the differences between them leading them to mutual recognition.

The narrator’s life is all about balance. His profession is selling kitchens and his sales pitch is about how they need to be balanced. He goes to work, reads the entire newspaper, and observes the elephant. The elephant vanishing brings excitement to his life and becomes all he can think about. Someone in my class mentioned that in Japanese culture everyone wants to fit in. You want to conform instead of sticking out.

Since I was searching for a deeper meaning I think this is an interesting point. The author may be attempting to relate this to society and the desire to fit in. This story is not like any other story that I have read, an elephant vanishing into thin air is a pretty dramatic and unique event to occur and story to write about. With that in mind I think that it is very important that the author made the narrator’s life so consistent because he represents society and the elephant represents breaking out from the conformities of society. Although Murakami may have intended for the story to simply be about a vanishing elephant, this is a much more satisfying ending.