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Caged In: A Thematic Analysis of Patrick Watson's "Big Bird

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Karmin Yu

on 28 April 2014

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Transcript of Caged In: A Thematic Analysis of Patrick Watson's "Big Bird

Caged In: A Thematic Analysis of Patrick Watson's "Big Bird in a Small Cage"
Cover art: the face of the song
The bird
Symbol of freedom
Characterizing the bird as human -> "mourn"
Life and death
Messengers to God
Bird in a
Cage" -> adjectives used to describe material goods
Unspecific terms to address people "we", "you" -> universal
Allusion to Harper Lee's
To Kill a Mockingbird
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." (Lee 119)
Religious symbolism
Other lyrical symbolism
You put a big bird in a small cage and it'll sing you a song
-> songs are artificial, reciting repetitive lyrics

That we all love to sing along
-> it is not appreciated when people break conventions

The ceilings weren't tall and the floors filled with grime
-> "grim" within "grime", ruthlessness of the capitalist mentality, negative connotations, unpleasant and confining environment

They got their black suits on and the songs would begi
-> capitalism is a source of societal norms, evil

Musicality & Rhythm
Song is calm, then the tune picks up to become more cheerful
-> contrasts the tone of the song and the theme in order to satirize, also shows the hope of change
Continuity of the pace
-> limitations of society are continuous
Two voices in the song: a male and a female
-> both genders -> suggesting that community is the solution -> the harmonizing, an allusion to "Adam and Eve"
"Bababa Baaaah"

-> sheep, conformity, society is composed of blind followers
The presence of string instruments throughout the song
-> sense of limitation, being tied down
Works Cited
A presentation by: Jameel Brochu, Gabrielle Girouard, Wenjia Wu and Karmin Yu
Patrick Watson's "Big Bird in a Small Cage"
condemns the limitations imposed by current day societal norms, which lead communities away from traditional morals and values, ultimately morphing society into a destructive group of individuals
By using:
characterization of the bird
lyrical symbolism
rhythmical composition of the song
While watching the video....
The bird
Religious details
Settings and plot
Musicality of the song
societal norms
lack of progression
danger of round cages
circle = repetition
one set does not fit all
no freedom of expression
brown = nature + materialism
brown & white: more subtle than black & white
"And I was invited in for a small taste of gin"
-> Gin, Djinn, demons, foreshadowing

"I asked the caretaker 'cuz he was their maker"
-> God, humble jobs are linked to the divine

"Well we rolled into town and the sweet New Orleans"
-> New Orleans, Orleans=Golden, depicts a town of new values

"To the Apple Barrel bar it was a hole in the wall"
-> sin, confinement, depression, lack of spirituality

"The ceiling weren't tall and the floors filled with grime"
-> not in contact with heaven

"But the sound that you would make would just warm their hearts"
-> perverseness, finding comfort in other peoples pain
"It was a quarter to 12, when the boys walked in"
-> not quite full circle, lack of connection to God
New Orleans
Taken from: http://www.videotechservices.com/av_labor_new_orleans.html
Cover Art
Taken from: http://cdcoverdesign.blogspot.ca/2011/01/patrick-watson-big-bird-in-small-cage.html
"All About the Djinn - All About the Demon Known as the Djinn."
About.com Paranormal
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

"Are Round Cages Really Bad for Birds?"
About.com Pet Birds
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

"Big Bird in a Small Cage."
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

"The Color Brown." empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

"Feather Plucking."
Beauty of Birds
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

"Feather Plucking in Birds."
Pet MD
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Hirsch, Arnold R. "The People And Culture of New Orleans."
The People And Culture of New
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Lee, Harper.
To Kill a Mockingbird
. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1988. Print.

Origin and Meaning of the Name at BabyNames.com
. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

"Patrick Watson - Big Bird in a Small Cage (Live at The Concert Hall, Masonic Temple) (5/9) ."
. 31 Aug. 2011. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Organic presentation of the theme: leaves room for interpretation
Reinforced through:
->the cover art
Leave limitations behind, don't surrender to conformity, and think for yourself
Killing a mockingbird is representative of killing an innocent bird

The mockingbird and its song symbolize individuals and their opinions. If their song does not conform to society's norms, then they will be "killed".

You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song.
-> One must be in society's cage to be accepted.
Rhythmical & Musical Composition
taken from: http://www.rapbasement.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/030212-music-tweets-drake.jpg
taken from: http://i4.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article2222787.ece/alternates/s2197/Miley-Cyrus.png
taken from: http://www.opensecrets.org/news/bigstock_Falling_Money_669153.jpg
taken from: http://ca.eonline.com/resize/300/375/www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/2014023/rs_634x793-140123081127-634.Justin-Bieber-Mugshot.jl.012314_copy.jpg
taken from: http://25.media.tumblr.com/e4f2229b7470db6bdd244aeb475857cd/tumblr_mvcxs9uIkj1qcoylpo1_500.jpg
taken from: http://www.zumbrota.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/50-anniversary-cover.jpg
taken from: http://www.fullhdwpp.com/wp-content/uploads/Lightbulb-at-sunset_www.FullHDWpp.com_.jpg
Full transcript