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Literary devices in Beatles songs
8 January 2016
8.16am
Wigwam
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Joe said
Thanks @ewe2 et al. I'm glad this thread took off. Some useful things to think about!

I don't agree, though, with you on personification. In literary terms it's a form of anthropomorphism, rather than a narrator merely adopting a persona. I can't really see how Sgt Pepper or Lovely Rita involve personification unless you use the latter definition.

The example I gave upthread was Got To Get You Into My Life , where Paul gives human attributes to cannabis: "You didn't run, you didn't lie, you knew I wanted just to hold you/And had you gone you knew in time we'd meet again for I had told you." It's a drug song masquerading as a love song.

And @Wigwam, I did consider She Loves You , but I agree with @Beatlebug - it's not a third-person narrative in the same way that Eleanor Rigby is. However, it's most interesting because it's all but impossible to tell who the protagonist is. Is it the narrator, the girl, or the object of her love?

She Loves You opens with the impression of a second-person narrative ("You think you lost your love"), but then it quickly settles in the first person ("Well I saw her yesterday... and she told me what to say"). That sets it up for the rest of the song, so even though the second verse is in the third person ("She says you hurt her so"), they reassert the first-person narration in the third verse ("I think it's only fair"). On balance I don't think it's can be classed as a third-person song.

"It was again a she, you, me, I, personal preposition song. I suppose the most interesting thing about it was that it was a message song, it was someone bringing a message. It wasn't us any more, it was moving off the 'I love you, girl' or 'Love Me Do ', it was a third person, which was a shift away. 'I saw her, and she said to me, to tell you, that she loves you, so there's a little distance we managed to put in it which was quite interesting."

Paul McCartney

 

But what does he know? ............Nincompoop!!

 

"I remember it was Paul's idea: instead of singing 'I love you' again, we'd have a third party. That kind of little detail is apparently in his work now where he will write a story about someone and I'm more inclined to just write about myself."

 

John Lennon ..........Another ninny!

 

i got these quotes from this web-site......... https://www.beatlesbible.com/s.....loves-you/

 

Perhaps I've misunderstood the question.    

8 January 2016
8.28am
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JPM-Fangirl said
Re: some of the previous findings. I'm not sure the alliterations Silly Girl mentioned should count as literary devices per se. 

a-hard-days-night-paul-11 Okay, so perhaps I was stretching it a bit far. I got little over-excited a-hard-days-night-paul-10

Oh, and might I offer "I've Just Seen A Face ", in which a homophone is used to create a rhyme where there is none:

 

Had it been another day

I might have looked the other way

And I'd have never been aware

But as it is I'll dream of her tonight

 

Paul ever so slightly changes the pronunciation of 'aware' to make it sound similar to 'her'

Very good spotting, I always thought that lyric and interesting case. 

I Don't Want To Spoil The Party is a Limerick, by the way.

 

I Don't Want To Spoil The Party so I'll go

I would hate my disappointment to show

There's nothing for me here

So I will disappear

If she turns up while I'm gone please let me know

Almost a limerick-- when reading it out, the rhythm isn't quite as regular as a proper limerick-written-on-paper-and-not-a-song. ahdn_paul_01

Fab gear! I always noticed that sort of rhythm subconsciously, but never actually thought of it till now. Thanks for pointing that out!

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8 January 2016
8.35am
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Wigwam sighed

Perhaps I've misunderstood the question.    

I think so. Let me make this clear: Just because there's a third person in the story does not mean it's written in the third person. You can have thirty-three people in your story, but if it's narrated by one of the characters, who refers to I Me Mine , then it's first-person. Third person means that the narrator is not an active participant in the story. 

Then there's second-person, which is you ye yours instead of I Me Mine -- think For No One

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.....ird-person

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8 January 2016
8.39am
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Example = Sherlock is First person since it's from Watson's P.O.V but since Watson isn't the main char that means it's first person minor.

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https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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8 January 2016
8.39am
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You're right, it's not a perfect limerick, but close enough I'd say. I'm just sitting here, bobbing up and down like a-hard-days-night-ringo-10 because I found something to add to the discussion beatlemaniacs_02_gif

 

And hey, when it comes to a-hard-days-night-john-2a-hard-days-night-paul-8a-hard-days-night-george-10 and a-hard-days-night-ringo-10, over-excited is an oxymoron heart

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8 January 2016
8.48am
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Thanks for that! I never noticed that IDWTSTP was based around a limerick structure.

The pronunciation of 'aware' in the other song is interesting. I wonder if it's the Liverpool accent coming to the fore ("If my hurr is brown" etc).

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8 January 2016
8.55am
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Are their any Beatles songs with round characters? 

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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8 January 2016
9.16am
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It might be both, @Joe. George had the thickest accent, as I think we can all agree, but, they all had their moments for sure. Perhaps Paul used it to his advantage for this one, who knows? He didn't sound especially Scouse most of the time though he always had (and still has) some dead giveaways.

Now that I think about it, he does tend to pronounce 'aware' more like 'awurr', just like the short 'u' sound tends to usually be pronounced as an 'o' (bos, not bus; bot, not but). 

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8 January 2016
10.10am
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JPM-Fangirl said

So, what I'd like to know is, should we try and pick out Every Little Thing , or should we try and stick to the ones that appear to be intentional?

I asked myself that question, but wondered if we could truly determine intentionality. I don't know if the words just flowed out of them or if they said "Hey, let's put some alliteration in here."

8 January 2016
11.34am
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JPM-Fangirl said
It might be both, Joe. George had the thickest accent, as I think we can all agree, but, they all had their moments for sure. Perhaps Paul used it to his advantage for this one, who knows? He didn't sound especially Scouse most of the time though he always had (and still has) some dead giveaways.

Now that I think about it, he does tend to pronounce 'aware' more like 'awurr', just like the short 'u' sound tends to usually be pronounced as an 'o' (bos, not bus; bot, not but). 

Yip-- think '...And if you do, I'll troust in you...' a-hard-days-night-john-6 

Ahhh Girl said

JPM-Fangirl said

So, what I'd like to know is, should we try and pick out Every Little Thing , or should we try and stick to the ones that appear to be intentional?

I asked myself that question, but wondered if we could truly determine intentionality. I don't know if the words just flowed out of them or if they said "Hey, let's put some alliteration in here."

I think it was more of a case of 'Let's say yaddayaddayadda because it sounds good' more than 'Let's put some alliteration in here'. I don't think they were too overly concerned with literary devices-- unlike some of us a-hard-days-night-paul-4a-hard-days-night-paul-9ahdn_paul_02

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8 January 2016
1.20pm
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Silly Girl said

Yip-- think '...And if you do, I'll troust in you...' a-hard-days-night-john-6 

You just HAD to make me read that at the exact moment that part of If I Fell was blasting from my speakers, didn't you?

And I'm not even making that up... 

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8 January 2016
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JPM-Fangirl said

Silly Girl said

Yip-- think '...And if you do, I'll troust in you...' a-hard-days-night-john-6 

You just HAD to make me read that at the exact moment that part of If I Fell was blasting from my speakers, didn't you?

And I'm not even making that up... 

Wait , what? I was talking about Wait . --Oh. Um, I didn't say anything... a-hard-days-night-paul-4

Yeah, um, nice Beatley moment there, JPM-Fangirl. ahdn_george_08

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8 January 2016
2.34pm
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Alright, fair enough, what you typed wasn't from If I Fell ... but it's close enough a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

And to be honest, any moment is a Beatley moment here... I spend half the day listening to their music a-hard-days-night-ringo-6 #sorrynotsorry

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8 January 2016
3.19pm
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JPM-Fangirl said
Alright, fair enough, what you typed wasn't from If I Fell ... but it's close enough a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

And to be honest, any moment is a Beatley moment here... I spend half the day listening to their music a-hard-days-night-ringo-6 #sorrynotsorry

All is well, JPM-Fangirl... so do I a-hard-days-night-john-6

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9 January 2016
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stay-on-topic

@Joe, sorry, I was rather stretching anthropomorphism to include third-party characters. In Paul's case it seems almost a stage on the way to full-blown character studies.

What's interesting is that they kept trying something different. As @Ahhh Girl notes, Lennon never seems far away from a thrown-in bit of surrealist metaphor. I forgot Octopus's Garden , that's anthropomorphic. And of course Come Together involves a character, and a bit of juxtaposition and metaphor.

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9 January 2016
7.32am
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True. How would an octopus know where The Beatles had been.

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9 January 2016
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As a general literary device, there seems to be a lot of hyperbole, personification, and commands in Beatles songs. I don't know if there's a literary term for a command, but they seem to generate a certain verb and action to listeners.

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