How does Taylor Swift's song "Long Live" relate to the themes of The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, and Fahrenheit 451?I am trying to prove to my class that Taylor Swift doesn't just write songs about a...

How does Taylor Swift's song "Long Live" relate to the themes of The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, and Fahrenheit 451?

I am trying to prove to my class that Taylor Swift doesn't just write songs about a girl who got her heartbroken. I want to try and show how the song "Long Live" by Taylor Swift can relate to all of the three books stated in my title: The The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, and Fahreneheit 451... could you help?

The lyrics are here: http://www.directlyrics.com/taylor-swift-long-live-lyrics.html

1 Answer | Add Yours

wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Two words need discussion here, before the actual question can be tackled: “Theme” and “Relate.”  The implication of your question is that these three pieces of literature have themes that can be articulated—but a complicated literary piece is “about” many things, and if the author has a “point” or a “moral lesson” or a “purpose” past simple creative expression, how is a “theme” derived from these apparently conscious motives?  Modern scholarship give as much or more power to the reader to “make sense” of the piece of literature’s “value,” so all this kind of abstract thinking goes into the simple term “theme.”

     As for “relate,” that exercise is virtually exclusively the reader’s (and in your case the listener’s) venue.  While it is true that the TV tabloid shows can point out (and have pointed out) the relationship between Taylor Swift’s songs and her personal life, the same cannot be said with clarity for Bradbury or Fitzgerald or Shakespeare.  Did Bradbury “relate” to books? Yes. Is that the “theme” of Fahrenheit 451?  Did he believe everyone should memorize a book for posterity?  Did he believe literature was bad for the human species?  etc.  You see how your question is complex.  Shakespeare’s relationship to Hamlet is even more complicated, and as for Fitzgerald, his “relation” to the social milieu of The Great Gatsby was even elusive to his biographers.  Without having Taylor Swift’s lyrics in front of me, I can say this:  These three works all represent human experience reflected through the artist’s soul, condensed and focused through the artist’s craft, and distributed through the artistic media of performance and literary genre, adding to our understanding of what makes us human, by relating the work of art to human experience.  If Taylor Swift’s song does that, it “relates.”   

We’ve answered 318,944 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question