A Figurative Paradox

When I came up with the idea for Confetti and Coffee, I wanted to write about the more humorous aspects of my life.  I wanted to expand my skills as a writer and show that I can write more than just poetry that deals with the darker passages of this world.  However, since today is 911 and I just wrote an essay for my English class ( not to mention that I haven’t posted an essay in months).  I have decided to post the essay I wrote for class.  The assignment was for me to write a rhetorical analysis about the descriptive devices and appeals the song uses.  I wrote about a song that reflects on  PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  As always, I welcome feedback left on my FB page and if the mood should suit you click that fancy share button on your device.  Cheers

Joy Division, “Decades”


The song, “Decades” by the band Joy Division is a song that reflects on the profound effects of war on service members who have engaged in combat.  Due to the stress of war these soldiers often suffer from (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The song is not a political argument but a song that is a social argument.  There are no anti-war slogans being thrown around in this tune but the theme the song reflects on is the tribulations faced by service members who are struggling with their mental issues having returned from combat.

Through the use of a synthesizer, “Decades” uses auditory appeal to evoke sadness akin to that of a funeral.  Singer Ian Curtis also applies auditory appeal through the somber use of his vocals.  Auditory appeal can also be found in the combination of lyrics and vocals of the chorus, “Where have they been?”  These lyrics and begging tone of Curtis’ voice portray the distraught moaning of the family member of a GI.  As the family tries to understand the brutality their loved one has been a party too.  “Decades” is an argument of pathos.  It has an emotional appeal that vibrates through the melodic combination of synthesizer and Curtis’ dreary vocals.  The lyrical content is embedded with figurative language device, such as the lyrics, “we knocked on the door of Hell’s darker chamber.”  The soldiers are not literally knocking on Hell’s darker chamber but going through the emotional stress of combat which equates what they are experiencing, as to that of being in Hell.  The use of visual imagery can also be seen in the lyrics, “We knocked on the door of Hell’s outer chamber.”  This summons the idea of men standing at the foot of Hell, waiting to be let in.  The next line in the song, “pushed to the limit we dragged ourselves in,” is a paradox because it is not physically possible to drag yourself into anywhere.  Someone would have to be doing the dragging to be able to use the word in its traditional sense.  Finally, the use of alliteration can be found at two points in the song.  The first is, “watched from the wings as the scenes where replaying.”  The second point would be, “the sorrows we suffered and never were free.”