Rachel L

When Birds Fly

   Mar 18

Which Song Represents Who or What?

Two weeks ago, my class and I finished To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. For my reflection, I picked six songs that represent characters or themes in the book. The lyrics had to make sense with what I paired it with. On to the music. I am not using all the lyrics, just what I explained.

My first song is Stay With Me by Sam Smith. I choose to pair this song with Mayella Ewell.

“These nights never seem to go to plan
I don’t want you to leave, will you hold my hand?”
These are the last two lines of the first verse. In this phrase, it is describing how what happened with Tom Robinson didn’t go the way she wanted it to. It is also saying she is lonely and doesn’t want to be alone. In the chorus, it is just saying that she doesn’t want to be alone. In the line, “And deep down I know this never works,” it is saying that she knows that herself, a white girl, would never be allowed to be with a African-American.

My next song was Outside by Calvin Harris. This song was paired with Boo Radley.

The first line of the song, “Look at what you’ve done,” is saying that he is upset that he is kept in his house. In the second verse, it is saying that he has to be strong and stay sane while he has no contact with the outside world. The last line is about how he watches Scout and Jem because he needs some form of entertainment.

My third song is Blackbird by the Beatles. This song is about Atticus.

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night,” is about how Atticus was the ‘blackbird’ at the trial because he was the only one to help Tom. “You were only waiting for this moment to arise,” is about how he was waiting for a trial to come and change his life and this was the trial of Tom. The rest of the lyrics are about the same.

The fourth song is Roar by Katy Perry. This is the theme courage.

“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess,” is about how Jem and Scout used to be very scared of Mrs. Dubous. The chorus is how they faced their peers and Mrs. Dubous. That is pretty much the whole song. It could also be about how Mrs. Dubose had courage because she broke her morphine addiction because she wanted to die free.

The fifth song is Innocence by Avril Lavigne. The theme is innocence. The whole song is about how having innocence makes everything seem perfect and like there are no bad things in the world.

The last song is Ain’t No Reason by Brett Dennen. The theme is racism.

“There ain’t no reason things are this way.
It’s how they always been and they intend to stay.
I can’t explain why we live this way.
We do it every day.”

The entire first verse is about how racism does not need to continue but it does. There is no reason for it, but it happens.

“Carrying their hurt and hatred and weapons.
It could be a bomb, or a bullet, or a pen,
Or a thought, or a word, or a sentence.” People get hurt every day because of something. It doesn’t even need to be physical to hurt.

I hope you liked the songs and the lyrics I connected to the book!

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  1. avatar NaiNai says:

    What an interesting assignment, Rachel.
    You did a great job of relating the appropriate
    songs to the story.

  2. avatar Aunt Rana says:

    This is a tough exercise to do! I’ll have to try it for my next book.

    My favorite song on your list is Ain’t No Reason, and I think it’s perfect for this book. Great choice!

    Auntie Rana

  3. avatar Linda Glasgal says:

    Rachel, I’m very impressed by the scope of your selection and the depth of your analysis.

    This is a great coincidence: I am reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” with the class I teach in English as a Second Language. I have three Korean students and one Ukrainian. I will ask them if they know any of these songs.

    I also admire your writing–I see writing by adults that isn’t as well done.

  4. […] Rachel’s post about the CD she created for To Kill a Mockingbird […]

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