Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Analysis of Song: Imagine

ohn Lennon was asking us to imagine a place where things that divide people (religion, possessions, etc) did not exist. He felt that it would be a much better place. This song is a strong political message that is sugarcoated in a beautiful melody. He realized that the softer approach would bring the song to a wider audience, who hopefully would listen to his message. In short, the messages of this song are that we should keep on optimistic to the peace and create the world as a better place to live. The further analysis of the song is presented below.

By: John Lennon

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one


1. Rhyme Scheme
    The pattern of rhyme in Imagine is labeled as follows:
2. Stanza Form
    The song was written into three- six line stanzas (sestet) and two- four line stanzas (quatrain). The first, the second and the fourth are sestet, and the third and the last stanzas are quatrain.
3. Repetition
    There is a repetition presented in this song. We find “Imagine all people” is repeated three times to emphasize on his invitation to listeners.
4. Antithesis
    There is a pair of words and ideas that is strongly contrast is presented together. In the song we find the following:
     Imagine there’s no Heaven, It’s easy if you try
     No hell below us, Above us only sky
5. Symbol
    Some words of the “Imagine” have original symbols. What does John actually want to convey to us? The first one is “heaven and hell” symbolize “the hereafter world”. When he persuades us, the listeners, to imagine that all the people are only living for today, so that there is no the hereafter world for living. The second one is “country” symbolizes “a border”. Border lines of countries has limited people to share, help, and get along each other. In some cases, it has also become a reason of a war. “Possessions” which symbolizes ‘wealth’ and ‘religion’ symbolize ‘exclusivism’ are other obstacles that keep the people apart is their inability to keep everyone equal, and with this inability comes a long line of problems between the haves and the have-nots. However, if we are somehow able to cut our possessions and our greed, we could create a universal sense of brotherhood in humankind. With this obstacle out of the way, we are able to share the world as equal.
6. Tone
    John tries to create provocative atmosphere to listeners. He invites us to do in his thought provoking song, imagine. From this word, the human imagination can create some of the most horrible atrocities, but it has also conjured up some of the most beautiful hopes and dreams. Lennon asks us to imagine the world as a better place and we can actually make that comes true.
7. Time and Place Setting
    This very meaningful song was brought about during one of the most turbulent times in our history, the Vietnam Conflict (around 19545-1975). The United States was fighting a war that wasn’t its own, and consequently it was leaving hundreds of thousands of dead innocents in its wake. John Lennon wanted very much for peace to be found abroad and also hear at home, so gave us a set of logical steps to fix the world. Each verse of this song is actually one of those logical steps.
8.  Meaning
     a. This song relies some elegant sentences. Each of the three verses begins “Imagine” and answers with empathetic comment. And each verse is more challenging than the one before. So, we have:
          Imagine there’s no Heaven - It’s easy if you try
          Imagine there’s no countries- It isn’t hard to do
          Imagine there’s no possessions – I wonder if you can
     b. Thus, there can be nothing greater than Heaven. But, John saw that it is easy if you try to imagine it away. So, if the countries is much lesser that Heaven, yet much harder to get rid of, though, to open mind, not so hard to do. Finally, possession –as pretty as we can get, but John realized that most of us could not imagine a world with no possession – I wonder if you can. This shows his excellent writing.
     c. This crescendo of challenges that forms the opening of each verse is answered by a similar set of three imaginings to close each verse. This time we have:
          Imagine all the people…
          Living for today
          Sharing all the world
          Living life in peace
     d. There are also fascinating. In context, living for today is not an apology for Hedonism. It is not ‘living for the moment’ in a selfish way. It is in fact very much as echo of the Sermon on the Mount. Then, sharing all the world is not about dividing out the spoils. It is simply as opening of borders, a geographical sharing, the consequence of imagining no countries. And in verse 3,  living life in peace, at first sight this could read like a mistake. Shouldn’t this have followed the ‘no countries’ opening? But no. john realizes that most wars are only ostensibly about religion or territory; they are actually about possessions –gold, oil, money and the likes. This song stands up on every level.
     e. Now the chorus - You nay say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one here, merely to acknowledge that the listeners might not yet have considered these things, but others have. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one –only ‘I hope’, no unrealistic expectation, no instruction.
     f.  The chorus is then the most important and powerful part of the song. The chorus is a message to all people who do not think that Lennon’s goals is possible. The most interesting part of this song is that Lennon plainly says that he is not the only person who has taken this message to heart. He is going to just hope that you will come to the message of yourself and make the world a better place. This approach is particularly powerful because it is practicing what the rest of the song preaches: peace and understanding.
     g. This song is, was, and always will be refreshing for at least one reason; its voice of optimism and hope for mankind. The world should be filled with ‘people’, not Blacks, Whites Whites, Russians, Italians, Christians, Jews, not even Moslems or Buddhists; just people. This song is an example of what can be as people, and what can actually accomplish if we try. It seems that this song is closed to communism. Lennon said this song is “virtually the Communist manifesto”. That’s usually the last we see of the quote, but Lennon added “even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement”. (
9. Theme
    This song is about a great expectation of someone toward peacefulness in the world. The last stanza of the song develops the theme further;
     “I hope someday you’ll join us- And the world will live as one”

Analyzed by M. Samsuli and Mohammad As’ad
Picture by

1 comment:

  1. This really helped me with my English assignment. Thanks!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...