Summer Solstice New York Compared to Jumper Term Paper

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Poetry in Third Eye Blind's Jumper and Sharon Olds' Summer Solstice New York

Songs and works of poetry are often the subject of the expression of some of humanities darker emotions. The act of suicide represents a culmination of such negative emotions to a point in which an individual wishes to take their own life. It is often the case that someone is temporarily flooded with such intense negative emotions that they consider suicide in a rash decision. While many of the artistic expressions deal with death, suffering, and suicidal thoughts, fewer seem to concentrate on more of a preventive side of such emotions. Two poems were chosen because each of them takes a relatively unique approach to suicidal people. The first poem was a song, Jumper by Third Eye Blind, is a song that represents a story told from the perspective of someone trying to talk down a suicidal jumper. The next song, Sharon Old's Summer Solstice New York is told from a third person perspective about a group of police officers who successfully convince someone to move away from a ledge. Each of these songs will be critically analyzed individual and then finally compared against each other.

Third Eye Blind's Jumper

Third Eye Blind is a band which was formed in the 1990s from San Francisco that plays alternative rock music. They have won many awards a have had several hit singles. The band's lyrics are generally composed by one of the members of the band who is the lead vocalist as well as songwriter. They have produced five major albums and have shuffled many of the group's members however the lead vocalist and songwriter still remain.

The song Jumper is about a boy who commits suicide because they feel like they don't belong in there group. The person who tells the story from their point-of-view asks the boy to step back from the ledge and cut ties with all the lies that he was living in. This can be taken to mean that his head is filled with thoughts that are negative and may not be true. It is often the case that a rush of negative emotions can hit someone all at once but, with enough time, these feelings also can leave just as quickly. The person telling the story does not seem to be worried about making friends evident by the fact that he states that if the jumper does not want to see him again that he would understand.

Many people misinterpret the song to mean that the person does not jump. However, near the middle of the song there is a line that seems to indicate that the person in the story did actually die. The line states that "Well he's on the table, And he's gone to code" which would seem to be that the person was on a hospital table and the doctors called the code which generally means that the person has passed away. After the person commits suicide then there are also ramifications for the people that were close to him which is referenced by the line "Everyone's got to face down the demons."

Summer Solstice New York by Sharon Olds

The poem Summer Solstice New York by Sharon Olds has a very interesting title. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and New York is known as a tough city. Thus it would seem by associating these two concepts together it would create a situation in which the days were long and tough. This is also associated with a suicidal situation which also adds evidence to the fact that the time was tough; at least for the potential jumper. The poem starts with the line "On the longest day of the year he could not stand it." This line bridges the title with the following story.

In the story the man is on a ledge with one leg which is "hung over the lip to the next world." The cops were obviously called in the story to assist the suicidal man. The tallest policeman was the one who confronted the suicidal man with a slow and calm voice. There were many other policemen around; one was in a neighbor's window and there were also some with some kind of net on the street in case of a last resort situation. The man decided to come down from the ledge and when he did the author notes that the cops rushed him as if he was a child that was missing only to be found by an irate parent. However, the next scene is composed of the man smoking a cigarette with the policemen in a manner that most likely indicates some sense of relief that all of the parties who were involved felt.


These two works have many similarities as well as some differences. One similarity is the fact that the attention of the work is focused on a brief moment. For example, in Jumper the narrator does not care if the man does not like him at a later date and is more worried about the anxiety in the moment. The same can be said about the poem by Olds. In the poem the police officers seem to be wrapped up in the moment however when the moment is over they show signs of relief. The police officers take the time to engage in a social smoke with the suicidal man. The author uses imagery that suggests that the person might be blind to some of the simple pleasures in life which actually defines much of her work (Poets). She has also been known to break traditional norms known to female poets (Monaghan).

Both authors seem to also have a liberal and open view on life as well. Stephan Jenkins for example loves drugs, distrusts the Republican Party, and thinks that the Democrats are pathetic (Perry and Russolilo). It seems that both authors have a great deal of empathy for other people. They can put themselves in the mind of others who are struggling with the negative aspects of what it means to be human. Such a position is nearly a prerequisite for understanding the human condition which is the cornerstone of many creative works. Instead of just judging someone and dismissing their position, both authors try to understand some of the subtle aspects to what drove the person to the brink of suicide; or in the case of Jumper, to actually committing the act.

Works Cited

Angelfire. "Sharon Olds." 2012. Angelfire. Web. 5 February 2012.

Lyrics 007. "Jumper Lyrics." 2012. Lyrics 007. Web. 6 February 2012.

Monaghan, P. "She Want It All": The Sun Goddess in Contemporary Women's Poetry." Frontiers: A Journal of Womens Studies (1990): 2-3. Web.

Perry, C. And S. Russolilo. "Stephan Jenkins resurfaces with candor." The Review (2006): 1-2. Web.

Poets. Sharon Olds. 2012. Web. 6 February 2012.


Jumper by Third Eye Blind (Lyrics 007)


I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,

You could cut ties with all the lies, that you've been living in,

And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand.

I would understand,

The angry boy, a bit too insane,

Icing over a secret pain,

You know you don't belong,

You're the first to fight, You're way too loud,

You're the flash of light, On a burial shroud,

I know something's wrong,

Well everyone I know has got a reason, To say, put the past away,

I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,

You could cut ties with all the lies, That you've been living in,

And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand,

I would understand.

Well he's on the table, And he's gone to code,

And I do not think anyone knows,

What they are doing here,

And your friends have left, You've been dismissed,

I never thought it would come to this, And I, I want you to know,

Everyone's got to face down the demons,

Maybe today, We can put the past away,

I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,

You could cut ties with all the lies, that you've been living in,

And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand,

I would understand,

I would understand...

Can you put the past away, I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,

I would understand...

Summer Solstice, New York City by Sharon Olds (Angelfire)

By the end of the longest day of the year he could not stand it, he went up the iron stairs through the roof of the building and over the soft, tarry surface to the edge, put one leg over the complex green tin cornice and said if they came a step closer that was it.

Then the huge machinery of the earth began to work for his life, the cops came in…[continue]

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