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Aside

Unit 38 – Tiger Choons

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 7 minutes 30 seconds

Below are extracts from three different songs that share a common metaphorical theme. Read and answer the questions that follow. 

 

Song 1 – Ride the Tiger, by Jefferson Airplane

I want to ride the tiger
I want to ride the tiger
It will be black and white in the dead of night
Eyes flashing in the clear moonlight
I want to ride the tiger.

It’s like a tear in the hands of a western man
Tell you about salt, carbon and water
But a tear to a chinese man
He’ll tell you about sadness and sorrow or the love of a man and
a woman.

I want to ride the tiger
I want to sail through the risin’ sun for you and you
We got something to learn from the other side
Something to give, we got nothing to hide
I want to ride the tiger.

 

Song 2 – I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, by Buck Owens

I’ve got a tiger by the tail it’s plain to see
I won’t be much when you get through with me
Well I’m a losing weight and I’m turning mighty pale
Looks like I’ve got a tiger by the tail

Well I thought the day I met you you were meek as a lamb
Just the kind to fit my dreams and plans
Now the pace we’re livin’ takes the wind from my sails
And it looks like I’ve got a tiger by the tail

Well every night you drag me where the bright lights’re found
There ain’t no way to slow you down
I’m about as helpless as a leaf in a gale
and it looks like I’ve got a tiger by the tail

 

Song 3 – Paper Tigers, by Thrice

They preach to the choir
Always in the permanent daylight
They toss paper tigers from their perfect Porcelain skylines

Listen for the sound
As it all comes crashing down

They light the world on fire
Just to watch it burn
It’ll be their funeral pyre
But they never seem to learn

And we paid the price
We paid for their crimes with our blood
With our blood, with our blood, with our blood
Paid with our blood and our lives
With our blood and our lives

 

1. Which of the following comments on Western men is suggested by Song 1?

  • A      They like adventure
  • B      They tend to conceal their anguish
  • C      They recently discovered Chemistry
  • D      They are less intuitive than oriental men

 

2. Assuming it is the subject, what does song 3 suggest about Western Culture?

  • A      It is fragile
  • B      It is insular
  • C      It is morally superior
  • D      It is culturally dominant

 

3. Which song personifies the tiger?

  • A      Song 1
  • B      Song 2
  • C      Song 3
  • D      None of these songs personify the tiger

 

4. Each song uses the tiger as a metaphor for something. Which of the following is not an implicit meaning in any of the above tiger-metaphors?

  • A      The natural force of life
  • B      Pain and destruction
  • C      A threatening façade
  • D      A dangerous animal

 

 

 

 

  • 1-d, 2-b, 3-d, 4-d

    ibrahim

    June 18, 2012

  • Answers:
    Q1: D
    Even if you know the artist, based solely on the verses provided we cannot infer that the singer is from the ‘western world’. Therefore the only reference we have to western man is:
    “It’s like a tear in the hands of a western man
    Tell you about salt, carbon and water
    But a tear to a chinese man
    He’ll tell you about sadness and sorrow or the love of a man and
    a woman.” – so the question is, what does this tell us about the western man? D – the western man analyses the tear, and talks about its atomic makeup. The oriental man speaks of the meaning behind it. It doesn’t suggest that they ‘recently’ discovered Chemistry, although it does suggest that they, at the time, thought about it more than those in the orient. You could argue he is talking about chemistry to avoid talking about sadness, but there’s not enough information provided to give us this. The song is about different cultures around the world “I want to sail through the risin’ sun for you and you
    We got something to learn from the other side
    Something to give, we got nothing to hide” so this is a hint that it’s D.

    Q2: A
    The question orders you to assume that this song is about western culture.
    “They toss paper tigers from their perfect porcelain skylines” = they toss empty threats from their moral highgrounds (another connotation of porcelain is its fragility..) this is also seen in:
    “Listen for the sound
    As it all comes crashing down
    They light the world on fire
    Just to watch it burn
    It’ll be their funeral pyre
    But they never seem to learn”
    They are lighting their own funeral pyre, they will be the death of themselves. Western culture, in other words, will come crashing down. It is fragile. It considers itself to be morally superior, though this may or may not be the case (subjective). Western culture is not necessarily dominant, but it tries to assert its dominance.

    Q3:B
    Buck Owens personifies the tiger as someone who he is in a relationship with. The tiger most likely represents a head-wrecking, nasty girlfriend.

    Q4: B
    Ride the tiger – the tiger is the natural force of life that is embodied in the amazing variation of cultures around the world.
    Tiger by the Tail – the dangerous animal is the person Buck is in a relationship with. Having a tiger by the tail is a very dangerous situation to be in.
    Paper Tigers – a paper tiger is something that looks dangerous, but is really harmless. A threatening facade – looks scary, but is just for show.
    The poem depicts pain and destruction, but the paper tiger is not used as a metaphor for it.

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    June 18, 2012

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