Note and assess patterns of writing and what they achieve in "The Star Spangled Banner?"

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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The Star Spangled Banner

The words to “The Star Spangled Banner” (by Francis Scott Key) are essentially poetry in and of themselves, as well as lyrics with music as its underpinning. Of note are the following elements of this composition:

* The Star Spangled Banner consists of four stanzas and each stanza consists of eight lines.

* The rhyme scheme of each stanza is:

                A-B-A-B-C-C-D-D

Line:        1  2 3  4  5 6  7  8

* The seventh line in each stanza contains the words “star-spangled banner”

* Furthermore, the last line of each stanza is the same:

              “O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave”

All together, the above elements give a poetic, musical quality to the words expressed. The lyrics deal with the major issues of war, loss, gallantry, freedom, love of country, as well as bravery. The Star Spangled Banner tells a story of the nation’s fight and also conveys that God is the Power behind the nation. It remarks that God is the nation’s trust. So, there is the religious backbone to the final stanza of this piece. As a result, this and all the other elements that are a part of the song lend a majestic air to The Star Spangled Banner.

Altogether, the patterns in this work achieve the desired effect of stirring the emotions and passions of those who read or sing the words. This is even more apparent when stately music is played with the words recited.

Therefore, it is readily apparent to the reader and listener of the song and words that this is no run-of-the-mill “ditty” so-to-speak, but a message that in a serious and somber manner evokes feelings of the ultimate triumph of freedom-loving people and also respect for a revered nation.

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