Goodnight Saigon by PuI8zF44

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									Christina T. Rodriguez
Prof. Dennis M. Simon
Preparation Assignment
The Music of the 1960s
October 20, 2003



                                            GOODNIGHT SAIGON


        The lyrics in Billy Joel’s (“Joel”) Goodnight Saigon are very powerful in that the lyrics represent
material that affects one’s childhood, adulthood, friendship, victory, and ultimately one’s death. The
words are very powerful in that they instill fear, loneliness, loss of reality, and the loss of one’s ability to
accept what lies ahead in terms of war. I believe that Joel’s mission is a grim reminder that during a time
of war, death is always inevitable. Although one can assume that war and death go hand-in-hand, the fact
that we typically associate death with war is a constant reminder that we, as a people, are subordinate to
our society.

           Joel’s music represents the final outcome of one’s life. As stated in his music, Joel portrays a
life that is lost on Parris Island. This life is then tortured in that the music states that one has been placed
in an asylum. The meaning behind this verse is that you are considered human before having to actually
“state your non-existence” in a war, and subsequently, another person committing you to a place of
inconclusiveness.

         Although the words in Joel’s song reference a sort of rhyme and reason, the grim fact that what
we face as an individual may never be understood by others unless those others walk in our footsteps.
Also, the fact that in the beginning we are part of one team and end up on opposing sides is a reflection
that some individuals do not nor cannot distinguish the rights and wrongs of today’s society.

          It is difficult to understand how we can be very negative towards one another, yet remain faithful
to others at totally different times. This is quite contradictory. Also the fact that when someone is “left
behind,” we tend to make ourselves forget the past and accept its failings. As mentioned in his song,
“Remember Charlie? Remember Baker?” They left their childhood on every acre,” is stated to basically
instill that after time we forget the most important elements of our lives. Once forgotten, always
forgotten.

         Joel’s lyrics definitely purport to tell the story of an individual at war and also tell how difficult
life can be without the presence of family. In reading and re-reading Joel’s music, it offers the subtle
ways of growing up and presenting one’s self to society. The era in which this song takes place reminds
me of the Vietnam era—life and subsequently death. Joel’s music indeed stands the “test of time” in that
it resembles life as whole and then life as complete death (one minute you are here, the next you are
forgotten).

          I believe that Joel tried his best to reach out to the individuals in our society by explaining the
thoughts and courage that one displays while in battle. Of course, this song is reflective of our society
today—one of gloom and one of unnecessary death. Does this music reflect the 1960s? Yes, I believe it
is a true account; however, the realism of death is not foreseeable if one has not been involved in war.

								
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