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Streets of Philadelphia- Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen's song 'Streets of Philadelphia' (1993) is based on a story of a man who is suffering from aids. The song describes how easily lives can be lost due to neglect and abandonment. The song is being told through the eyes of someone who is struggling with life and personal troubles. The song was written based on the film 'Philadelphia'; which is about a homosexual man with aids. Springsteen creates the theme by using elements such as, repetiton, imagery, tone and feeling, metaphor and enjambment.

Repetition is used throughout the song, giving a reinforcement of the same idea. The repetitiveness of the lyrics 'On the streets of Philadelphia' reinforces the harsh attitude of the public towards homosexuality and aids. The lyrics also suggest that the man is suffering from poverty/homelessness aswell- no support, no family. The repetition of these words allows the audience to build empathy for the character in the song.

Imagery helps the audience/reader to develop a good sense of what the singer is trying to describe. In the first line of the song, Springsteen sings' I was bruised and battered'. This gives the image of someone who is wearing old worn, uncleaned clothes. This suggests the aching pain and suffering felt by the character. Springsteen also sings 'My clothes don t fit me no more' which suggests a change in appearance; his illness and lifestyle has changed how he looks and feels. Springsteen says, ' legs felt like stone', which allows the audience to visualise a person who seems cramped and tired. Springsteen produces an image so that the audience can relate it to their own witnessing or experiences.

The tone of this poem is sad and lonely. Parts of this poem show demonstrate a low self-esteem and loss of identity. Springsteen starts by saying, 'I couldn't tell what I felt I was unrecognizable to myself'. This suggests that the singer's illness builds his confusion as his disease is taking his identity. When Springsteen says 'I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone' the reader develops a sympathetic view for this person due to his abandonment by those he were close to. Not only does Springsteen give the impression that this person has been abandoned by his friends and family, but also by God, when he sings , 'Ain t no angel gonna greet me'. Sadness and loneliness is developed when Springsteen says 'At night I could hear the blood in my veins Black and whispering as the rain..'; reference to night adds a darkness to the overall tone and feeling.

Within the song, Springsteen sings 'I walked the avenue till my legs felt like stone' which is identified as a metaphor. The technique describes and also puts emphasis on the actual distance that the person had walked. The words create a sense of lonliness and lost. This suggests that the person has nothing else



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