TDB&TB Question #19 ~ A Day in the Life

by Jean-Dominique Bauby

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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TDB&TB Question #19 ~ A Day in the Life

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 23, 2008 9:49 am

Why do you think Bauby chose the Beatles song “A Day in the Life”

(Tidbit #24) http://johnnydepp-zone.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=40051

as the title for the chapter where he describes what happened to him when he had the stroke?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby fansmom » Fri May 23, 2008 2:51 pm

"He blew his mind out in a car"
Isn't that what happened to Bauby? The stroke was, so to speak, a blood vessel blowing in his brain?

And this part--
Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late

Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream...


Just a description of an ordinary day which suddenly becomes a dream . . .

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Unread postby suec » Fri May 23, 2008 4:29 pm

It did seem an incredibly appropriate choice, reading the account of the day with the lyrics interspersed between them. As well as the lines fansmom has quoted, These stood out for me:
I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
Not only does it seem very much like his narrative voice here, it reminds me of a couple of points in the book. One is the part where he learns what is being said about him and how he is very much the news; and the second where he first sees his reflection and reacts with laughter. And of course, the title itself. It's what happens when disster strikes: a day becomes the day.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Liz » Fri May 23, 2008 5:04 pm

suec wrote:It did seem an incredibly appropriate choice, reading the account of the day with the lyrics interspersed between them. As well as the lines fansmom has quoted, These stood out for me:
I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
Not only does it seem very much like his narrative voice here, it reminds me of a couple of points in the book. One is the part where he learns what is being said about him and how he is very much the news; and the second where he first sees his reflection and reacts with laughter. And of course, the title itself. It's what happens when disster strikes: a day becomes the day.

You've each made me think of some things I hadn't thought of before. Suec, up until today, I've been thinking that he was merely focusing on that one day when using this song. Now I think he is tying things all together with it. I'm thinking "the photograph" refers to what he sees when he first awakens to his condition, which we are led to believe are family photographs mentioned in the first page of the Prologue.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 23, 2008 5:28 pm

Youse guys are good! :cool: I was also thinking the last crashing piano chord of the song represents the moment he has the stroke.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri May 23, 2008 6:17 pm

Very nice analysis, Mantras! :cool:

And for me this particular song, being an amalgam of a couple of melodies and lyrics by The Boys (plus a brilliant orchestral arrangement by George Martin), is such a great example, muscially, of how a day can wander all over the place, with this thought and that idea and this random action and that random reaction, and none of it seeming to have much point or purpose or make much sense...but then, at the end, you realize it's a masterpiece.

That final sustained chord, to me, represents Jean-Do's sustained effort to complete his story....
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

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Unread postby suec » Sat May 24, 2008 10:08 am

I feel I must add this. 'He didn't notice that the lights had changed' sends a chill down my spine. To me, it symbolises that lack of realisation and understanding that he had: 'Not for a second does it occur to me that I may be dying' and the thoughts that he has: 'Slow down. I'll get better'.

I also thought that adding the lyrics to this chapter was a fantastic idea. When I first read it, with those lines dotted throughout the drive, it made me feel so agitated at that point, especially with the way they are juxtaposed with his plans for the weekend. It was like passing those road markings to make drivers slow down or something. They really added to the sense of foreboding and the disaster being imminent.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Liz » Sat May 24, 2008 11:23 am

suec wrote:I also thought that adding the lyrics to this chapter was a fantastic idea. When I first read it, with those lines dotted throughout the drive, it made me feel so agitated at that point, especially with the way they are juxtaposed with his plans for the weekend. It was like passing those road markings to make drivers slow down or something. They really added to the sense of foreboding and the disaster being imminent.

I totally agree, Suec. I was agitated while reading it also. It was a very effective literary tool.


That final sustained chord, to me, represents Jean-Do's sustained effort to complete his story....

Parlez, I like that. :cool:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 24, 2008 12:01 pm

I guess it never dawned on me that this was a literary tool. :dunce: I took it for granted that was really the song that was playing and it was another of the great ironies of Jean-Do's situation. Whether it was really the song on the radio, or whether it was a graphic way to tell about his last day outside the diving bell, it was very effective!

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Unread postby Liz » Sat May 24, 2008 2:52 pm

nebraska wrote:I guess it never dawned on me that this was a literary tool. :dunce: I took it for granted that was really the song that was playing and it was another of the great ironies of Jean-Do's situation. Whether it was really the song on the radio, or whether it was a graphic way to tell about his last day outside the diving bell, it was very effective!

I may not have been a literary tool (we'll never know), but it sure worked. :cool:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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