Explanation Of Peter Gabriel's Song Mercy Street

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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18-Jul-01 The song, Mercy Street, by Peter Gabriel, is this composer's attempt to delineate the mind of Anne Sexton, a troubled, yet brilliant poet; he does this with the assistance of the following devices: symbolism, repetition, and most importantly, general theme. This song, including its title, is entirely symbolic; it symbolizes the realm Anne Sexton searched for in her confessional poem, 45 Mercy Street. The symbols are significant; they are excerpts from the poem that are syntactically mutated to equate a tone of realism in the song, "All she can see, are the dreams all made solid, are the dreams made real." (l. 2,3) To help outline the symbolic character of the song, Peter Gabriel uses another alliterative device, repetition; this is used to create an impact on the audience, reinforcing Anne's feelings of inundation, "Nowhere in the corridors"¦nowhere in the suburbs." (l. 14,15) This effectively portrays her need to find "mercy" in the lonely and distorted world in which she lived, which converges upon the theme to this song.

Depression is a disease; it distorts one's perception of reality by extracting the color of humanity, leaving them in blackness. This desolation will conquer the human soul and inflict a need to find any way out of a cold, dark, and lonely world. The symbolic, repetitious, and thematic natures of this song create a sympathetic awareness for the victims of depression; however, to fully comprehend the meaning of, Mercy Street, one must read Anne Sexton's poem.