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Aside

Unit 51: Comparing Songs About The Elderly

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 6 minutes

Song 1: Help The Aged, by Pulp

Help the aged,
One time they were just like you,
Drinking, smoking cigs and sniffing glue.
Help the aged,
Don’t just put them in a home,
Can’t have much fun when they’re all on their own.
Give a hand, if you can,
Try and help them to unwind.
Give them hope and give them comfort
’cause they’re running out of time.

In the meantime we try.
Try to forget that nothing lasts forever.
No big deal so give us all a feel.
Funny how it all falls away.
When did you first realize?
It’s time you took an older lover baby.
Teach you stuff although he’s looking rough.
Funny how it all falls away.

Help the aged
’cause one day you’ll be older too -
You might need someone who can pull you through
And if you look very hard
Behind those lines upon their face
You may see where you are headed
And it’s such a lonely place.

 

Song 2: Young At Heart, by Jimmy Durante

Fairy tales can come true
It can happen to you
If you’re young at heart it’s hard, you will find,
To be narrow of mind
If you’re young at heart
You can go to extremes
With impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams
Fall apart at the seams
And life becomes exciting with each passing day,
And love is either in your heart… or on its way.
Don’t you know that it’s worth
Every treasure on earth
To be young at heart?
For, as rich as you are,
It’s much better by far
To be young at heart
And, if you should survive
To a hundred and five,
Look at all you’ll derive
Just by being alive!
Now, here is the best part:
You have a head start
If you are amongst the very young…
At heart

 

Song 3: September Of My Years, by Frank Sinatra

One day you turn around and it’s summer
Next day you turn around and it’s fall
And all the winters and the springs of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all?

As a man who has always had the wand’ring ways
I keep looking back through yesterdays
‘Til a long forgotten love appears
And I find that I’m sighing softly as I near
September, the warm September of my years

As I man who has never paused at wishing wells
Now I’m watching children’s carousels
And their laughter’s music to my ears
And I find that I’m smiling gently as I near
September, the warm September of my years

The golden warm September of my years

 

1. Song 1 is best described as:

  • A      A cautionary tale
  • B      A sentimental reflection
  • C      A series of philosophical musings
  • D      A criticism of youth

 

2. Which of the following is a logical fallacy implied by one of the above songs?

  • A      Help the aged or nobody will help you when you are old
  • B      Seasons can change completely within a 24 hour period
  • C      Children are are usually open-minded
  • D      Good things will happen to you if you are optimistic

 

3. Which of the following is suggested by two of the above songs about the nature of old age?

  • A      Old age is in the mind
  • B      It is a peaceful time
  • C      It is a lonely time
  • D      The elderly are wise and knowledgeable

 

4. On which of the following points would the writers of Song 1 and Song 3 likely agree with each other?

  • A      Youth is a hectic period in life
  • B      Nothing lasts forever
  • C      Ageing is a slow process
  • D      All of the above

 

 

 

  • Answers:
    Q1: A
    Help the Aged is a call to action with an ‘or else’ message attached. A cautionary tale about the woes of old age
    They’re running out of time, and by extension so are we because ‘nothing lasts forever’. The singer doesn’t criticize or lament youth, only suggesting that it was fun. The lyrics of the song are also more objective and purposeful than answers B and C would suggest.

    Q2: A
    First off, B and C are not logical fallacies. They are just statements which may or may not be fact.
    A is a logical fallacy because a false causal relationship is implied between someone not helping an old person and, as a result, not being helped by anyone else.
    “Help the aged
    ’cause one day you’ll be older too -
    You might need someone who can pull you through”
    D is not actually implied by song 2. The message is that if you are young at heart (optimism is arguably a trait of being young at heart) you will view the world in a different light. You’ll enjoy the good things more and bad things won’t seem so bad. Song 2 does not imply that better things will physically happen if you are young at heart.

    Q3: C
    Help the aged – this is obviously suggesting that old age is lonely. We have to look a little harder to see it in Song 3…

    “I keep looking back through yesterdays
    ‘Til a long forgotten love appears
    And I find that I’m sighing softly as I near September”

    This long forgotten love doesn’t physically appear to him. He is remembering his love, now gone, and sighs. The song suggests that Sinatra is at peace, but this verse suggests a hint of loneliness too.

    Q4: D
    Both songs agree with each other on all three points.
    Youth is a hectic time.. we have:
    “One time they were just like you, drinking, smoking cigs and sniffing glue” (suggestive of a wild lifestyle)
    and “As a man who always had the wand’ring ways… who has never paused at wishing wells” suggests that this is the first time in his life he is taking his time and absorbing the moment he is in.
    Nothing lasts forever is proclaimed in song 1, and generally implied by the passage of time in Song 3 – and the long lost love now gone.
    Both songs would likely agree that ageing is not a slow process, it is sudden:
    “One day you turn around and it’s summer
    Next day you turn around and it’s fall
    And all the winters and the springs of a lifetime
    Whatever happened to them all?”
    and
    “one time they were just like you… one day you’ll be older too… funny how it all falls away”

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    July 19, 2012

  • Hey mate,
    Just stumbled across this site and it seems fantastic. Keep up the good work!

    Q4. C
    I think answer C is meant to read: “Aging ISN’T a slow process”.

    Travis

    July 25, 2012

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