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“End of the Innocence” and “Leader of the Band”

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“End of the Innocence” and “Leader of the Band”

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  1. “End of the Innocence” and “Leader of the Band” William D. Brown

  2. “End of the Innocence”

  3. “End of the Innocence” • “That night I cried for the first time since that whole sad, sordid, tragic set of events began. My tears, however, were not for Marie, whom I loved, or my uncle, whom I once idolized, or for my parents or grandparents or for my community or my life in it – all, all changed, I knew, by what had happened. But that night I cried myself to sleep because I believed that I would never see my horse, Nutty, again. I remembered the way he lowered and twisted his head when I approached, as if he were waiting for me to whisper something in his ear, that long ear whose touch reminded me of felt. I remembered how I used to rub my fingertips against the grain of the tight, short hair of his forehead and then smooth the hair back down again. I remembered how, when I first put my foot in the stirrup, he seemed to splay out his legs slightly, as if her were lowering himself and bracing for my mount. One of the great regrets of my childhood had always been that I couldn’t live on the same grounds as my horse. Now the distance between us seemed too great for either Nutty or me to travel again.”

  4. “End of the Innocence” • “Remember when the days were long and rolled beneath the deep blue sky? Didn’t have a care in the world with Mommy and Daddy standing by.” • The speaker is looking back on younger days when we TRUSTED… • But something happened that changed that…

  5. “End of the Innocence” • “But happily ever after fails, and we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales. The lawyers dwell on small details since Daddy had to fly…” • Something breaks up this illusion, this fairy tale (in this case, presumably, the father’s leaving – perhaps a divorce…)

  6. “End of the Innocence” • “But I know a place where we can go that’s still untouched by man. We’ll sit and watch the clouds go by, the tall grass wave in the wind…” • The speaker is talking to someone, telling this person about a special place – imaginary or real? • The speaker suggests that humanity often DESTROYS what it touches (“untouched by man”).

  7. “End of the Innocence” • “You can lay your head upon the ground, and let your hair fall around me. Offer up your best defense ‘cause this is the end, this is the end of the innocence.” • The speaker says this person can let down his/her defenses – but only temporarily…

  8. “End of the Innocence” • “O beautiful for spacious skies… But now those skies are threatening. They’re beating plowshares into swords for that tired old man that we elected king.” Armchair warriors often fail, and we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales. The lawyers clean up all details since Daddy had to lie…” • This segment begins with an allusion from “America the Beautiful” but jars us into WAR! • War is started by these “armchair warriors.” • Again, we are reminded that we cannot TRUST.

  9. “End of the Innocence” • “Who knows how long this will last, and how we’ve come so far so fast? Somewhere back there in the dust, the same small town in each of us…” • How quickly this happened without our even knowing… It sneaks up on us. • Remember that small town, representative of that innocent world…

  10. “End of the Innocence” • “I need to remember this, so Baby give me just one kiss. And let me take a long last look before we say goodbye…” • As tragic as this change in perspective is, we need to remember those more innocent days… • Those days are part of who we are…

  11. “End of the Innocence: • The song’s tone is LAMENTING, MOURNING. • Both of these tones mean sadness but referring to regret and loss. • At the same time, the speaker seems to imply that with the loss/end of the innocence, we can see things clearly for what they are. • This may guide our decisions…

  12. “End of the Innocence” • This song, written and performed by Don Henley, immediately popped to my mind after reading the novel, Montana 1948. • The title suggests a change in the way we see things… • Is the end of innocence necessarily a bad thing? • It may be painful, but it also allows us to see things more clearly…

  13. “Leader of the Band” • See the last page of the novel, Montana 1948. • Cancer had hollowed out Wes • Image of a weak man • They had lost everything. • David, at twelve, initially had been disappointed by his father. • Later he realizes that his father was, in fact, a HERO!

  14. “Leader of the Band” • This was a song that Dan Fogelberg wrote. • Fogelberg in one of his last concerts said that, if there was one song he was destined to write, this was it. • It is a tribute to his father: • Instead of calling him a hero, he used the imagery of the band because Fogelberg became a professional musician.

  15. “Leader of the Band” • “A lonely child, alone and wild, a cabinet-maker’s son, his hands were made for different work, and his heart was known to none…” • His father was a loner, born to working class parents. • Strong, silent type – a REAL MAN!

  16. “Leader of the Band” • “He left his home and went his lone and solitary way, and he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay.” • “lone and solitary” – repetition suggests the depth of the sacrifice made by the father • Speaker finally understood the value of the gift given to him by his father – but not until later…

  17. “Leader of the Band” • “A quiet man of music denied a simpler fate – he tried to be a soldier once, but his music wouldn’t wait.” • Music was introduced to the speaker’s life through his father • Interesting imagery – “quiet” and “music” in the same line… • Suggestion of a MISSION…

  18. “Leader of the Band” • “He earned his love through discipline and a thundering velvet hand. His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.” • Oxymoron ( contradiction in terms) or Paradox (does not sound right but may seem right)? • “thundering velvet hand” – frightening and strong but also loving and kind • Father as an artist – his masterpiece? The speaker (but he did not get it at the time)…

  19. “Leader of the Band” • “The leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old. But his blood runs through my instrument, and his song is in my soul.” • The father is old (and presumably will die soon) – so here is his tribute. • Music (and poetry and art) IMMORTALIZE! • “So long as men can breathe and eyes can see, • So long lives THIS, and this gives life to thee.” (from Shakespeare’s sonnet)

  20. “Leader of the Band” • “My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.” • We live what we know! • “legacy” is something valuable left behind for the next generation to enjoy and benefit from • What is he leaving behind? MUSIC!

  21. “Leader of the Band” • “My brothers’ lives were different, for they heard another call. One went to Chicago, and the other to Saint Paul. And I’m in Colorado when I’m not in some hotel living out this life I chose and gone to know so well.” • He followed the life his father wanted to live (but perhaps could not – for whatever reason): the life of a musician.

  22. “Leader of the Band” • “Thank you for the music and your stories of the road. Thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go. And thank you for your kindness and the times when you got tough. And Papa, I don’t think I’ve said, ‘I love you’ near enough.” • TRIBUTE to his father • Music, stories, freedom, discipline • Saying “I love you” before he dies…

  23. “Leader of the Band” • The song is CELEBRATORY but also MOURNFUL. • The speaker mourns the inevitable passing of his father, BUT • He celebrates his father’s life and IMMORTALIZES him through both his music and this song.

  24. “Leader of the Band” • I think about my father all the time with this song. • My father is eighty-two years old and will probably die sometime soon. • I did not understand his discipline. • I tried hard NOT to be like him, BUT I see so much of his influence in my life. • I sang this song for him at his seventy-fifth birthday party.