Critical analysis of "Bird on the Wire" by Leonard Cohen.

Essay by cybroxHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2003

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Leonard Cohen has had a long and illustrious career as a poet and a songwriter. The Canadian songwriter has written many popular songs, and we all have at least one of his tunes stored up in the recesses of our minds. However, there are a certain few of Cohen's that stand above the rest. Songs that were hits, and songs that in fact helped shape the period of time they were created in. "Suzanne", "Bird on the Wire", and "So Long, Marianne" are a couple of these elite creations of Cohen's mind. During this paper I will be analyzing the song "Bird on the Wire", interpreting its meaning and explaining what it is saying. This song was one of Cohen's most famous songs, and was very influential during the '60's- a time of turmoil and unrest. It has been covered by more artists, including Johnny Cash, than any of his other songs, and it is a prime example of Cohen's signature style.

The song is separated into two large sections, but after reading and thinking about it, you realize there are really six small sections to it.

The poem opens by giving you a first impression about the person speaking throughout the song. Lines 1-3 of the first stanza show the speaker trying to escape his problems, so that he can be "free". He wants to be "Like a bird on the wire" (L1), meaning he wants to be able to sit above and away from his problems. He also alludes to becoming "Like a drunk in a midnight choir". A drunk is able to escape his worries and be carefree through drinking. The "midnight choir", refers to all the people drinking, partying and making noise at night.

This section is important to the poem because...