Tracy Chapman Meaning

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In Tracy Chapman’s song, “Fast Car,” that was released in 1988, she expresses the hardships of her life in poverty. The main hardships mentioned throughout her song are her father’s struggle with alcoholism as well as her struggle to earn a dollar. Although Chapman touches on these deep topics, that can make the song seem depressing, it is a truly beautiful song that captures the essence of someone who was so hopeful for the future but never reached their full potential. I am choosing to write about this song because this song is very dear to my heart with all the fond memories I have associated with it, from listening to it in the car with friends to listening to it alone contemplating my own struggles. Furthermore, it appears to many as a …show more content…

Each poetic device, scattered throughout her lyrics, furthers her emotions and the power of her song. The first device that Chapman chose to use is found in the title of her song, “Fast Car.” Allegory is used in her title because the ‘fast car’ carries a deeper meaning than just a fast car. The title holds the meaning of this failed relationship in Chapman’s mind, that it came and was great but was gone quickly. Within the first verse connotation is used to associate the dark place she was in with where she wanted to be. This is seen within the line, “ I want a ticket to anywhere,” as it is such a deep lyric, because she would rather be any place other than where she was at. Going on to sing, “Any place is better/ Starting from zero got nothing to lose,” Chapman shows that she has absolutely nothing so nothing is on the line. Her life is already zero and is the worst it is so nothing bad can happen anymore. Although the true meaning is somewhat depressing, her use of this poetic device provides a less sad tone to her song. The next device that stands out is another instance of connotation within the third verse. She sings the verse, “See my old man's got a problem/ He live with the bottle that's the way it is/ He says his body's too old for working/ His body's too young to look like his/ My mama went off and left him/ She wanted more from life than he could give/ I said somebody's got to take care of him/ So I quit school and that's what I did.” The meaning behind this verse is very touching because as it comes about in her lyrics that her dad was a drunk. This would’ve stopped him from working or doing anything good with his life, as well as costing money and possibly leading to violent outbursts. This is no life for a someone, and so her mother left to go and live her life, leaving just Tracy to take care of him. Left with such an immense task, it forced Chapman to disrupt her own

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