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Analysis of "Science of Myth"

The song, “Science of Myth” by Ben Weasel, has a didactic tone because its main purpose is to teach. The entire song breaks generic conventions because of its unusual wordiness, which gives it an informative tone. Other methods enhance the preachy and informative tone throughout the song. For example, the songwriter uses allegory and allusion in various areas to make the song sound more academic.

The first line of the song gives a doubtful tone because it states that there are people who always questions and never accepts someone else’s words as the ultimate truth. The next line, ‘...every myth is a metaphor’ provides the thesis for the entire song. Biblical allusions about Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism are used in the next few lines to explain that the Buddhists do not demand that words of the Buddha should be followed if the individual cannot apply to it, while Christianity calls for blind faith. This allusion gives a scholarly tone to the song.

Such lines as the first line of the second verse also heightens the learned tone, while the use of words such as ‘oughta’ ironically makes it informal or colloquial. This is also an example of breaking of generic conventions because a meaningful subject is told through a common manner. The line that begins with, ‘see half the world sees the myth as fact’ to the end of the second verse stresses the value of Biblical allegory. For example, by studying different types of works, many people will see common themes that will enable them to hold various perspectives about the human experience, not just theirs.

The chorus uses parallelism to effectively display the on going struggles that humans must face to move ahead because of their inability to understand a mixture of scientific worlds. The first line of the bridge is didactic because the writer factually tells us what science and religion are. Once again, this enhances the scholarly tone. The frequent use of ‘and’ and ‘but’ lengthens the sentences and gives a doubtful tone to the song, as a metaphor for the doubt many people experience because of religion. The doubtful tone is presented well throughout the bridge because the second and third line presents goals and progress, while the last line of the bridge in contrast provides stagnation. This adds on to the perplexing tone of the song.

The first line of the third verse uses allusion to an article from a Chicago newspaper in which a woman was found several days after an attack and had survived because of her faith in God. The use of this allusion gave the song a descriptive and informative tone. The line, ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s real or not’ to the end of the third verse uses homily because it gives moral and spiritual advice. The advice is that when people are in crisis, they try to get whatever they can to get through that crisis instead of debating about the methods they used to overcome their pain; the debating comes later. The syntactical shift beginning in that line made the sentences shorter and sound more optimistic. Therefore, the tone became hopeful.

This song is clumsy in order to accommodate a rhyme because of its verbosity, but is overall a well written lyric. It is factual, straight forward, and its wordiness works well in a sense that it makes the song interpretive. The song’s most significant tone is educational. The use of Biblical allusion, didactic language, and allegory made the song seem more scholarly. The two less prevalent tones were doubtful and hopeful. These tones were presented through syntactical shifts and various sentence structures.

-STUPOR

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