Saturday, December 18, 2010

More on "Run for Your Life"

Returning to the several weeks-old topic of “Run for Your Life:”

It’s interesting to consider “Run,” with its baldly misogynistic posture, in the broader context of Rubber Soul. The presence of songs like "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "Girl," both of which give depictions of presumably attractive, intelligent, or otherwise compelling women whom John has fallen for, muddies the impression of him as a thoroughgoing chauvinist. On both songs, John essentially admits he couldn't compete with the powerful charms of these females, and he comes away from the experiences frustrated, chastened, defeated. In these instances anyway, it’s clear he doesn’t see himself as inherently superior to members of the opposite sex; how could he? On "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," he finds himself in such an exasperated state – read: outmatched – that, according to some interpretations of the song, he burns down his counterpart’s house. On "Girl," he’s smitten with a woman who routinely mistreats him and makes a fool of him. The problem is he just can’t help himself; she’s rendered him impotent.

With all of this in mind, perhaps we can loosely read "Run for Your Life" as an outgrowth of John’s frustration. He’s been bested several times and feels he must reassert control; he does so by unleashing hateful anger on a lover he disparagingly calls “little girl.” Thus, he closes the album with an ugly kind of equilibrium achieved.


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