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Innuendo in "Ode to Billy Joe". Check my grammar!


kayyao 6 / 20  
Dec 30, 2009   #1
Topic: Discuss about the use of innuendo in "Ode to Billy Joe".
Please help!!!! My English sucks. Any comment, correction or criticism is greatly appreciated!
Innuendo
In the song "Ode to Billy Joe", Bobbie Gentry's seemingly harmonious and casual household talk turns into an intriguing love tragedy after deciphering the innuendos by reading between the lines and detecting for hidden meanings.

By reading through the lines, the ages of characters can be debunked. The speaker's brother recalls when "he and Billy Joe put a frog down [the speaker's] back"; the typical big brothers bullying little sister scenario. Apparently, the speaker's brother is a friend of Billy Joe at the time, thus, they are similar in age. Furthermore, since the speaker's brother "married Becky Thompson" and his "mama [does not] seem to want to do much of anything" a year after Billy Joe's suicidal, they should be about twenty-five to thirty-five of age; the speaker, being the younger sister, should be merely a teenager, when people are still considered "child" by parents.

The speaker indeed have intimate relationship with Billy Joe. She has been seen talking to him "after church [a] Sunday night", and "throwing something" off the bridge with Billy Joe. I assume that they has had sexual relationship at some point. Nevertheless, it is destined to be an infeasible match due to father's antagonism toward Billy and their vast difference in age. Fearing to be castigated and degraded for their illicit relationship, they planned to "[throw] [their unexpected child] off the Tallahatchie Bridge". Moreover, since people tend to lose their appetite after giving birth, the speaker "haven't touch a single bite" of the pie that her mother has been "cooking all morning". Eventually, the guilt from killing his own child triggered Billy Joe to terminate his sympathetic life; causing the speaker to "spend a lot of time picking flowers" and "drop them into the muddy water" off the bridge in order to commemorate and cherish the time with Billy Joe.

Ultimately, through analysing the lyrics, the superficial dinner-time gossip about a young man's death is actually a sorrowful love story which leave audience with unsolved enigmas after decoding its indirect remarks in the song.

garfunkel129 5 / 18  
Dec 30, 2009   #2
At one point you say "reading between the lines" and at another point you say "reading through the lines." The first one is more correct, but since this is more of an academic essay, I'd recommend using a less idiomatic word, if you can. In your thesis, maybe strike "reading between the lines" altogether.

a year after Billy Joe's suicidal

should be "suicide"

still considered "child" by parents.

Try not to use quotation marks unless what's between them is actually in the text.

The speaker indeed have intimate relationship with Billy Joe.

"has" not "have." Or, put a "does" after "speaker."

I assume that they has had sexual relationship at some point

They "have," not "has."

due to father's antagonism toward Billy

Whose father? Or is it just Father?

the speaker "haven't touch a single bite" of the pie that her mother has been "cooking all morning".

The speaker "[doesn't] touch a single bite" of the pie that her mother had been "cooking all morning." Since this is an academic paper, try to keep everything in the present tense.

the guilt from killing his own child triggered Billy Joe to terminate

present tense: triggers

which leave audience with unsolved enigmas

which leaves the audience with unsolved enigmas.

Good luck! =)
OP kayyao 6 / 20  
Jan 1, 2010   #3
garfunkel129
Garfunkel129,
Thank you so much for your comments.
I will definitely look into these changes.


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