Wednesday, November 24, 2010

from "Jackson Cage"

Here are a few lines from Springsteen's "Jackson Cage," one of the twenty songs that ended up on the double album, The River, in 1980.  Comparing the setting in which the characters live, in this case a town called Jackson, to a prison, is a brilliant poetic move.  As fatalist and cynical as the song may seem, it captures well the frustration felt by many in the working class who have had to settle for a certain type of life. 

You can try with all your might
But you're reminded every night
That you've been judged and handed life
Down in the Jackson Cage
Every day ends in wasted motion
Just crossed swords on the killing floor
To settle back is to settle without knowing
The hard edge that you're settling for
Because there's always just one more day
And it's always gonna be that way
Little girl, you've been down here so long
I can tell by the way that you move you belong to
The Jackson Cage
Down in Jackson Cage
And it don't matter just what you say
Are you tough enough to play the game they play
Or will you just do your time and fade away
Down into the Jackson Cage

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