Junior, Tallow, and I listened to rap music, trying to memorize the lyrics so that we could avoid thinking about the situation at hand. Naughty by Nature, AL Cool J, Run- D. M. C. , and Heavy D & The Boozy; we had left home with only these cassettes and the clothes that we wore. I remember sitting on the verandah listening to “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D & The Boozy and watching the trees at the edge of town that reluctantly moved to the slow wind. ” (15). “L took off my old pants, which contained the rap cassettes.
As I was putting on my new army shorts, a soldier took my old pants and threw them Into a blazing fire that ad been set to burn our old belongings. I ran toward the fire, but the cassettes had already started to melt. Tears formed in my eye, and my lips shook as I turned away. ” (110). “L began to look forward to Ester’s arrival in the afternoons. I sang for her the parts of songs I had memorized that day. Memorizing lyrics left my little time to think about what had happened In the war.
As I grew comfortable with Esther, I talked to her mainly about Bob Marble’s lyrics and Run-D. M. C. ‘s. Too. ” (163) One of the themes present in A Long Way Gone is music and how it impacts peoples’ Houghton, emotions, character, and their overall lives. It also underlies the idea of music being a distraction from the hardships and rough patches people go through. In the first selection, Junior, Tallow. And Shame try to memorize lyrics to rap music In order to “avoid thinking about the situation at hand”.
The situation being the war and the reality of knowing the rebels would soon invade their village. In the second selection, Shame is deeply saddened (“Tears formed in my eye, and my lips shook as I turned away. “) that his cassettes have been destroyed, as they were a symbol of his holding and his life before the war and chaos. In the last selection, Shame once again uses music as a distraction, which left him “little time to think about what happened In the war”, as the Images were obviously horrifying to say the least.
All of these excerpts show the deferent ways that music can be used as an outlet, or a distraction from negative thoughts and ideas, similar to the way people use art as an outlet. Not only do people use music as an outlet, but also as a way to take pride in their culture. The same Is true today, as many people listen to music native to their mom country, state, or city. For example, people of Latino descent often listen to music by Latino artists like Shakier, Carols Santa, and Unripe Gallerias.
The majority of the artists that Shame listens to throughout the book come from African backgrounds, and he is fascinated by the fact that the black men can rap in English so fast and with the beat. People all over the world use music as an outlet for their thoughts, or a way to distract themselves from a tough situation they might be going through. Music has an overall positive connotation throughout the novel, and this appreciated.