Journeys – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds/Finding Neverland

Topic: ArtMusic
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Last updated: June 17, 2019

The lyrics of the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, performed by The Beatles, and primarily written by John Lennon, takes the reader or listener on a journey into the imagination.

There are a few interpretations of this song. The most popular interpretation being, that the lyrics of the song follow the kind of journey that one would embark on upon the consumption of the hallucinogenic drug LSD which would project the wildest of imaginings. Although at the time of release, John Lennon had stated that the lyrics of the song were based on a drawing by his son, Julian, of a girl in his class called Lucy.If the song was inspired by the drawing of Lucy, we can say that the lyrics take you on a journey that may be similar to that of a small child’s boundless imagination. In addition to the inspiration from his son’s artwork, Lennon also drew heavily from a childhood inspiration of his own, Lewis Carroll – the “Wool and Water” chapter from Through the Looking-Glass. From the beginning of the song we are thrust into an imaginative realm, where everyday objects are turned into something extraordinary, such as the marmalade skies and kaleidoscope eyes.

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Perhaps the persona had wanted to escape their ordinary life and travel to a place that was extraordinary. The journey starts “in a boat on a river” ending “on a train in a station” which could mean the journey of the persona has only just begun, is never ending, or they have grown as a person and are ready to travel to their destination. The first words of the song are “picture yourself” telling us that the following parts of the song are imaginary. The song was composed in 1967 and therefore takes on the cultural and social contexts of the 1960’s.The drug scene reached a high point during the 1960’s so the popularity of illegal drugs such as LSD grew, in which The Beatles are known to have taken part in.

These drugs are said to expand the imagination and because the composers may have written about their experiences whilst under the influence of drugs, this song reflects their social/cultural context. One technique used to explore the concept of journey in this song is second person, for example “picture yourself”, and “you answer quite slowly”. These make the reader or listener feel part of the imaginary world, or that they are infact the one taking the journey in song.The second person technique is combined with the technique of imagery, created by alliteration e.

g. “tangerine trees” and “plasticine porters” which helps the description stand out, and abstruse adjectives such as “newspaper taxis”. The starting line of each verse is innocent and could perhaps appeal to the mind of a child. For example the newspaper taxis appearing on the shore could refer to paper boats. This text explores the journey as a means of searching for something as throughout the song, the reader/listener is told to “look for the girl with the sun in her eyes” who appears difficult to find.

Not until the end of the song and, the end of the journey, the “girl with kaleidoscope eyes” is found. It seems that she was the purpose of the journey into the imaginative world. Imaginative journeys are used often as an escape from reality and the dull everyday life, and are often the search for something greater. The movie follows the life of the playwright, James Barrie, and how he changes the lives of the Davies family, and brings them into his world of imagination.

James’ imagination allows him to see the world differently for example, Barrie tells the children of his dog, and how it can, at times, turn into a performing bear. The children don’t believe him and before proving it to them, he states  ‘…its just a wee bit of imagination’. He then allows their imagination to speak for their minds, by ordering his dog to dance with him. Throughout this scene there are flashbacks between shots of his imagination, where the colour is vibrant and the camera zooms onto Barrie and the dancing bear and reality, where the children are watching Barrie and his dog play in the gardens.The children are enchanted and in turn it inspires Barrie. Another example of James using his imagination to escape the present reality is in the scene where James and his wife argue after their dinner with the Davies family, his wife opens her door, and through the crack we see nothing but darkness, however when James opens his door, we see sunshine and trees and the sound of birdcalls.

An integral part in creating Barrie’s imaginative journey is the contrast between the colour of childhood fantasy and the dull dreary shots of Barrie’s home life.Often, ordinary shots turn into enchanting tales, such as when the Davies children are putting off bedtime by jumping on their beds, only to suddenly soar into the air and out of the window. With these special effects added to the film, it in turn allows the responder’s imagination to be stimulated by Barrie’s mind and work. The music throughout the film is played by a simple orchestra which creates a dreamlike mood. The music tends to get more upbeat before, and during, the flashback scenes throughout the film, which highlights the importance of Barrie’s changing personal imaginative journey.The last few scenes of the film see Barrie achieve his imaginative dream, by showing his play of ‘Peter Pan’.

In it stars Sylvia’s three boys, all with an important part in the play. It wasn’t only Barrie’s mind, which wrote his famous play of Peter Pan, but also the inspiration of Peter, the youngest boy. While the children are taken to Neverland where they stay young forever they also, in a sense grow up, and become more mature. Not only are the children taken into Barrie’s world, but over time, Sylvia, the mother takes part on the imaginative journey to Neverland, where she finds happiness and passes away.

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