Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Soundtrack for The Garden of Eden

While reading Hemingway’s novel The Garden of Eden, I subconsciously kept hearing songs that I felt related to the book, so I cr

eated an actual playlist to show the feelings of the novel in song and hope to enhance the reader’s understanding of this queer text. The playlist is as follows:

1. “Stuck in the Middle” – Mika

2. “Navy Taxi” – Kate Nash

3. “A Beautiful Mess” – Jason Mraz

4. “Oscar Wilde” – Company of Thieves

5. “It’s Too Late” – Carole King

6. “Pressure” – Company of Thieves

7. “Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga

8. “Almost Lover” – A Fine Frenzy

9. “Near to You” – A Fine Frenzy

10. “Nothing Lasts Forever” – Maroon 5

11. “Platinum Blonde Life” – No Doubt

12. “The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World

13. “Loving You” –Paolo Nutini

14. “Crazy on You” – Heart

15. “Hurts So Good” – John Mellencamp

16. “Low Rising” – The Swell Season

17. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers

18. “Ashes and Wine” – A Fine Frenzy

Here are a few brief rationales on the songs that I chose:

Mika’s “Stuck in the Middle” seems to show how Catherine is “stuck” between her identities, and the singer talks about “looking at life from the perspective of a boy,” which I think Catherine clearly wants to do. “Stuck in the Middle” also eludes to desire for acceptance even though one is different, asking the question, “Is there anybody home who will believe me, won’t deceive me, won’t try to change me?” Catherine literally seems to be consciously “Stuck in the Middle” of being a girl and being a boy.

I believe that the song “A Beautiful Mess” seems to suit the relationship of Catherine and David. It hints at her slow descent into perceived madness with the line “Your style is quite selective, though your mind is rather reckless.” The idea of “A Beautiful Mess” just seems to describe this marriage of these characters because it’s dysfunctional with Catherine taking on the identity of a boy, and also how there is another woman brought into the marriage. It’s beautiful, but it’s a mess.

“It’s Too Late” by Carole King shows the struggles that Catherine and David face in their marriage, and how things have changed and they can’t go back. Carole sings, “There’s something wrong here, there can be no denying one of is changing, or maybe we’ve just stopped trying,” which shows the acknowledgement that Catherine has when she says “‘There isn’t any us’” and how they do try to deny it for awhile. Also, Catherine has changed, and there’s no denying it.

David’s position of writing their narrative can’t keep the song “Bad Romance” by Lady GaGa out of my head. He is literally writing their “bad romance” as GaGa suggests her and the subject of her song could write. It’s also very sexually charged, and I think that has been the basis of their relationship, and their romance has just gone bad.

The songs are “Almost Lover” and “Near to You” by A Fine Frenzy are raw and heartbreaking, and “Almost Lover” shows the reflection that Catherine must have of her time with David, now that he has dismissed her. In the song she says, “I’d never want to see you unhappy, I thought you’d want the same for me,” but David doesn’t care for “crazy” Catherine anymore. In the song “Near to You,” the singer talks about a dysfunctional relationship that leads to a relationship with someone else to help heal. Perhaps David is attaching so fiercely to Marita because he is struggling with moving on from his time with Catherine. It also can be used to suggest a return to the ideal heterosexual couple: “I’m battle-scarred, I am working oh so hard to get back to who I used to be.” Whether or not he likes it, David was changed by Catherine, and now he must reclaim himself as a stronger heterosexual male with Marita.

1 comment:

  1. Rachel,
    This post is so fun! I love your commentary on "Near to you" and think that's a really interesting way to read David's relationship with Marita--that he was clinging to her so fiercely because of his relationship with Catherine. I love how applicable these lyrics are to the texts we read. Really, really nice job putting together this playlist.