So many of our favourite songs are as multi-layered as any of the texts we study in school. With the new term dawning, we listed the best tracks of the year so far. Below, you’ll find the activities linked to our number 1 choice: ‘Life In Slow Motion’ by Trophy Eyes.
- MUSIC FOCUS: Trophy Eyes.
- ACTIVITY FOCUS: Explore the significance of chaos in ‘Othello’.
Listen to Trophy Eyes’ ‘Life In Slow Motion’.
Read the 3 extracts from articles about chaos – particularly within relationships.
“Some individuals… wish to unleash chaos to “burn down” the entire political order in the hope they gain status in the process.” (Petersen, Osmundson & Arceneaux)
“When we grow up in emotionally chaotic households, we face challenges in establishing healthy adult relationships. When chaos is the norm, we get accustomed to living with what feels bad and scary. We learn to silence our experience because it feels too dangerous to speak up for ourselves or call anyone out on their behavior. As children, we need to belong; to belong is to survive. To express our experience of the family drama would be to risk the love of our caretakers, our belonging, and thus our survival. When a home is emotionally chaotic, it’s not generally filled with adults who are open and interested in the child’s experience; there’s often no safe person for a child to talk to and even less chance for there to be someone who will take responsibility for, or change, what’s happening. When we grow up in an emotionally unstable and untrustworthy environment, we develop certain defense strategies to maintain our safety and keep ourselves intact. Put simply, we learn to get okay with a lot of stuff that doesn’t feel okay. We become experts at burying anxiety, fear, anger, and despair; we walk through the wreckage as if nothing crazy is happening, no matter how bad it feels. And eventually crazy becomes our norm. Our strategies for survival succeed at keeping us safe as children, on a certain level. But when we carry these same defense strategies into adult relationships, they stop working and we end up feeling trapped, powerless, anxious, and angry. The feelings we buried as children are still there— only now they won’t stay underground. Those of us who grew up in homes where such behavior was the norm often obsessed about what we wanted to say out loud to a parent, but we didn’t say it because it would have created anger or more chaos, and accomplished nothing in terms of changing our world. Similarly, as adults in relationships, we think incessantly about what the other person is doing to us; we make the case for our grievances silently inside our heads, and rehash what we’re going to say and how we’re going to say it. But, again, we stay silent. We think obsessively about the other and our bad situation, but we don’t know how to take steps to make it change: We’re too afraid of the consequences or of our own rage. As a result, we stay stuck in bad situations, feeling powerless to make our relationships change, chronically fearful and overflowing with resentment.” (Nancy Coller)
“People who have a chaotic lifestyle invariably have parents who themselves lack boundaries and structure. They lack the skills to bond properly and parent successfully, and are unable to be consistently available and willing to meet their child’s needs. The child learns through being rebuffed time and again to keep their needs to themselves because if they try and get their needs met, they end up being unsatisfied or hurt. If you know that the answer is always “no” you stop asking the question. Sometimes these parents are inconsistent and unpredictable. Sometimes they are there, sometimes they are not. The child learns that what they need is only available sometimes and they cannot anticipate when those times will be. Unexpectedly, the child develops a deep-seated anxiety about whether their caregiver will be there for them. They learn to stay close to the caregiver so that they are there when the need provision is available; as a result that cuts off their need to explore and develop self-confidence. People who have experienced such parenting learn not to trust those around them, and develop strategies for self-protection. There is frequently a subconscious message – “I don’t need anyone, I can do it myself” – that they bring into even their most intimate relationships. They deny and hide their feelings and needs in order to be close to others and feel safe. They can develop a deep sense of hyper vigilance and, worst of all, a low sense of self-worth. The message they subconsciously tell themselves is that they are not good enough to attract appropriate care.” Annie Gurton
Consider the lyric below from Trophy Eyes’ ‘Life In Slow Motion’.
“In the chaos I find peace and quiet / Nothing means anything”
Having read the extracts, what might you conclude about the feelings John Floreani (Trophy Eyes’ songwriter) is trying to express about chaos? Why might he feel the way he does?
Now, read Michael Donkor’s analysis of the storm in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’.
“Given that it passes so quickly, we might justifiably overlook the importance of the storm that opens Act 2. But the dialogue’s focus on confusion here is telling. In this scene, Montano is desperate to find out what can be ‘discern[ed]’ at sea; his initial speech is dominated by a series of questions that emphasise his ignorance. The ‘gentlemen’ nearby, seemingly Montano’s only source of information, describe to him visions of ‘monstrous’ chaos, ‘wind-shak’d surges’ and ‘enchafed’ flood (2.1.13, 17). Such description, the frenetic tone and the fact that the feared foe ends up defeated by nature rather than by human design underline the chaos of war; where one minute, the foe is advancing terrifyingly; the next, the enemy is surprisingly pushed back.” (Michael Donkor)
Explore the significance of chaos in Act 3, scene 2.
Writing about ‘Othello’ is so difficult, because there is almost too much to say! So, let’s really practise that close-reading skill. Zoom in on the quote below and write as much as you can in response to the above task.
“Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.”
Once you’re done, please do send your writing in! We want to publish the most exciting ideas!
Then, you can have a go at thinking about the use of darkness with Linkin Park, BMTH & Enter Shikari!