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ADIL FADILLAH

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CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Background

Song is not merely determined as a criticism toward social phenomenon


or great culture event in certain society. Song is also a medium for people to
simply express emotion such as; happiness, sadness, anger, disappointment, etc
or to reveal their hidden thought. According to Oxford Advanced Learner's
Dictionary 8th Edition (2010: 1419), song is "a short piece of music with words
that you sing". The words in every song are called lyrics. Through the lyrics,
songwriters can share their thought and feeling by using certain words.

Just a few decade ago, the music of folk-rock group, Simon and
Garfunkel, hit the world with tremendous force. The writer decides to pick "The
Sound of Silence" as the object due to their poetic complexity, deep-seated
meanings, and underlying themes.

Theoretical Framework

In analyzing the lyrics of "The Sound of Silence", the writer uses


Formalist Criticism: This approach regards literature as “a unique form of
human knowledge that needs to be examined on its own terms.” All the
elements necessary for understanding the work are contained within the work
itself. Of particular interest to the formalist critic are the elements of form—
style, structure, tone, imagery, etc.—that are found within the text. A primary
goal for formalist critics is to determine how such elements work together with
the text’s content to shape its effects upon readers.
CHAPTER II

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

Before going on to the analysis part, let us start with an initial


interpretation of Simon’s lyric "The Sound of Silence" which reads as follows:

Hello darkness, my old friend


I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone


Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw


Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know


Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed


To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

The song is interesting because there is no chorus (is a part of a song


which is repeated after each verse) it's just verses (one of the parts into which a
song is divided) which is really good sign that Paul Simon meant the lyrics are
important. Though "The Sound of Silence" was written 55 years ago, its
pessimistic and dark ideas are very much significant and relevant in today’s
context.

Simon's lyric reveals a deep personal feeling and deals primarily with a
common human experience. It is a fair portrayal of modern life as there is a lack
of meaningful communication in our modern urban world. Modern life, as
Simon describes it, raises the sense of alienation, loneliness and dislocation.
Even the future of humanity looks very gloomy.

When people start to cover the song and added more music like electricity
guitars and stuff like that and when Simon and Garfunkel heard that and
Garfunkel said that; "I don't think that great because it really takes away the
power of the lyrics, the lyrics were the point of this song and the melody is what
helps bring them home"

The first line highlights the key theme of the song, alienation and the
inability for people to talk to one another.

Hello darkness, my old friend


I've come to talk with you again

The connotation for the words “darkness” by using the word “hello”,
which is a greeting word that can be used to greet a person that one sees or
meets. “Darkness” is described here as an intimate person that the narrator used
to see and meet. Therefore, the metaphorical that can be captured here from the
line "Hello darkness, my old friend" is that darkness is a human being.

Because a vision softly creeping


Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

These lines lead us to believe that Simon had an inspiring dream, the
vision of which can be easily recalled when he seeks out the comfort within the
darkness.

In restless dreams I walked alone


Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

The story of it is that Paul has a dream about ten thousand people bowing
to a god they made of neon light. The god represents the fake and shallow
culture they are building on pop stars and the dollar bill. The author feels as if
he is the only one who is not content with living in the fake, trivial culture that
was stated.

The fact that the neon light “touched the sound of silence” could also hint
that the sound of silence is the way people defend themselves against emotional
attacks.

And in the naked light I saw


Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

Paul seeks to convey a message of how ignorance taints the minds of so


many people. Silence refers to submission. He reveals how people so foolishly
follow rulers without actually knowing a ruler’s true intentions and background.

People hearing without listening reveals a people’s willingness to take


heed to the commands spoken by a leader without fully realizing the
consequences of this obedience.

In this verse Garfunkel has explained the meaning of the song as the
inabilty of people to communicate with each other, especially emotionally, so
what you see around you are people unable to love each others. This song was
released at the time of the beginnings of the Vietnam War, assasination of John
F. Kennedy, and coming at World War II. On that time people are engrossed in
all of that noise there was this kind of silence, the silence that kept them from
communicating eventhough they would talk, they wouldn't speak actual
meaning, eventhough they would hear they wouldn't listening to other people.
And so the metaphorical noise of things happen created this silence of people
not being in connection or communication with each others.

"Fools" said I, "You do not know


Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

In this case, sometimes silence is a good thing, sometimes taking time to


pause and reflect is a good thing but not the kind of silence that shuts you off
from other humans and that's what he's saying here is that eventhough he tried
to reach out to people it just it didn't work people weren't listening to him either.
His remarks fall upon deaf ears that echo in the wells of silence.

And the people bowed and prayed


To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets


Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

In the last verse we get a little glimpse of what the big problem is here.
Some reasons this neon god these people make it's a little bit garish and it's
neonness it's not something that you would necessarily expect from a folk singer
to have any sort of a key or a truth to it, but it seems to me that this God is
warning them the words of the prophetd the truth the things that you need to
know they're written in the commonplaces, they're written everywhere, and
people just need to go and find them. Those words of the prophets are
whispered in the sound of silence and take advantage of the silence for the noise
of the truth, and if you had to ask Simon and Garfunkel what the truth was, it
was probably that we need to learn to communicate our love for each others.
CHAPTER III

CONCLUSION

"The Sound of Silence" is rich with different forms of figures of speech,


that Simon employs, in a professional way, to produce a coherent and solid text
characterized by creativity and novelty. Simon successfully employs figures of
speech to lead his readers to form a clear image from the fragmentary pictures
that he presents in his lyric. He always chooses the appropriate literary device to
communicate what he thinks and how he feels about something, to explain what
a particular thing is like and to convey a meaning in a more interesting and
creative way.

Paul Simon in "The Sound of Silence" offers lots of conceptual metaphor


and new types of mapping between source and target domains.
APPENDIX

THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Simon & Garfunkel

Hello darkness, my old friend And the people bowed and prayed
I've come to talk with you again To the neon god they made
Because a vision softly creeping And the sign flashed out its warning
Left its seeds while I was sleeping In the words that it was forming
And the vision that was planted in
my brain And the sign said, "The words of the
Still remains prophets
Within the sound of silence Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
In restless dreams I walked alone And whispered in the sounds of
Narrow streets of cobblestone silence
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and
damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the
flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw


Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices
never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know


Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach
you
Take my arms that I might reach
you"
But my words like silent raindrops
fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
REFERENCES

Gioia, Dana and X.J. Kennedy. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry,


and Drama: Sixth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1995

Song Lyrics of “The Sound of Silence”, 1966, accessed 23 October 2019


<https://genius.com/Simon-and-garfunkel-the-sound-of-silence-lyrics>

“Song.” Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. 8th ed. 2010.