English Essay, Research Paper
The Colossus and Ain t Wastin Time No More
The two works that will be examined in this paper are The Colossus by Sylvia Plath, and Ain t Wastin Time No More by Greg Allman. Separately, these works are unique and very individualistic. When looked at together, however, there is common theme between the two; it being that human life is short and should never be taken for granted. This paper will show similarities and differences between Plath s and Allman s works.
The first point that will be addressed is the dramatic situation that is presented in the two works. In her poem The Colossus , it is clear that Plath herself is speaking. This is evident in the first line of the poem I shall never get you put together entirely . Greg Allman is also the speaker in Ain t Wastin Time No More . Evidence for this statement lies within the lyrics I still had two strong legs, and even wings to fly .
The speaker of a poem or song is not the only component to the dramatic situation . Another important element is the audience that is being addressed and the topic of the particular work. After having read The Colossus several times, one may come to the conclusion that Plath is speaking to anyone who will listen. Everyone can relate to her poem because death (the theme of The Colossus ) is an aspect of everyone s
life at some point. Likewise, Allman s audience is comprised of anyone who hears his song. More specifically however, it relates to those people who have experienced a tragic and sudden loss as he did with the death of his brother.
Both Plath and Allman use their real life experiences to form literary and musical works that can be related to by the common man. Plath writes in the fourth stanza O father, all by yourself / You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum. This excerpt is about Plath relating her dead father to the ancient Roman Forum. Allman sings I, ain t wastin time no more, Cause time goes by like hurricanes, and faster things. Similarly to Plath, Allman is singing of the death of his brother Duane and how he is not going to waste any more time; rather, he is going to move onward with his life (and music) as his brother would have wanted him to. The dramatic of situation of both works has been established. Plath and Allman are the speakers in both of their works. The audiences of Plath and Allman are diverse, yet both works appeal to those who have suffered a loss, whether it be a father (as Plath did) or a brother (as Allman did).
The next area of that will be interpreted is the relationship between form and content. Sylvia Plath s The Colossus is divided into six stanzas. Each stanza is comprised of five lines. The format is very organized and compact. In contrast, Plath s thoughts are often
unorganized, broad, and at times somewhat incoherent. The sense of stability that is evident in her form is lacking in her actual ideas. Evidence of this lies in the third line of the second stanza when she writes Thirty years now I have labored / To dredge the silt from your throat. Plath is referring to the fact that she has been tying for thirty years to revive her father. Literally, the reader may perceive that she has been trying to physically exhume his remains. From a figurative (and realistic) standpoint, however, Plath is trying to resurrect her father s memory.
In Greg Allman s Ain t Wastin Time No More the style is also very regimented. The song is divided into five verses with different choruses after each verse. The simple and coherent format coincides with simple and coherent ideas throughout the song. Allman s theme of moving on after the tragedy of his brother Duane s death is consistent and eloquent for the duration of Ain t Wastin Time No More . Allman sings in the first stanza With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize / I still had two strong legs, and even wings to fly. The music itself is upbeat and electrifying . The theme of moving on is definitely evident in the music as the beat is fast, revitalizing, and inspiring. During parts, the music is loud, particularly during the verses; it is soft, particularly during the chorus. The instruments used include a guitar, keyboards, a bass, and drums. The guitar (electric) is the most apparent
instrument as it is consistently used, and is evident in its sliding during the verses. The drums provide a rhythm and a sense of guidance for the other musicians. The guidance that the drums provide is the same type of guidance that Greg received from God and true friends . The keyboards and bass are a constant that do not change as the guitar and drums do. The guitar can best be related to Greg as it is constantly changing, sometimes it is loud and at other points, it is soft. The instruments themselves are used in particular places to emphasize a particular message that the band is trying to convey to its audience.
Both works The Colossus and Ain t Wastin Time No More compliment each other in the sense that each helps the reader understand the other better. The Colossus shows that after thirty years Plath has not been able to move past the death of her father and continue with her life. The opposite is true with Allman. His entire song is about moving on with life. Plath gives her audience the experience of one side of the spectrum (not getting over death) and Allman gives the other, more positive side of the spectrum (being able to cope with death). Plath writes that her hours are married to shadow , whereas Allman sings Go on downtown baby, find somebody to love. The differences between the two works are very clear, but those same differences are the uniting points between the two. Death is the common denominator (complimentary idea) in both works, and how death is dealt with is the
differentiating factor (oppositional idea). If Allman were unable to deal with his brother s death there is a good chance he would be singing something similar to what Sylvia Plath had written.
Plath and Allman are unique to musical and literary history. Plath s in depth thoughts about coping with death are unparalleled. The images she paints in her readers minds are unlike any other poet. An example of this imagery is the fourth line of the fourth stanza I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress. The sheer image of someone eating lunch on the ground at a cemetery is in itself morbid. Likewise, Allman and his band are in a league of their own . There have been comparisons made between his band and the Rolling Stones for example, especially regarding the instrumentals. Although the Allman Brother s Band may be somewhat similar to one or two other bands, they are extremely unique. The Allman Brothers Band s lyrics carry true meaning and their music allows their audiences to genuinely feel what the band is trying to convey in their musical works. The Allman Brothers and Sylvia Plath are tremendous contributing factors to musical and literary history, and their works are unrivaled by any of their peers.
By examining and interpreting the dramatic situation of Sylvia Plath s The Colossus and Greg Allman s Ain t Wastin Time No More this paper has shown the similarities and differences between each work. The relationship between form and content also relates to a
reader s understanding of any work, whether it is musical or literary. Lastly, cohesive observations have been made that in The Colossus and Ain t Wastin Time No More there are complimentary ideas and oppositional ideas. All aspects of both works contribute to the readers or listeners understanding for, and appreciation of, literary and musical history.