Aubergine may have been one of the most challenging songs to write an analysis for, but it was also the most fun. Thirty pages deep and five songs to go! Have a taste:
Fish, having been thusly rebuked by Labrador Retriever and Aubergine, re-examines himself in the light of this knowledge. He is a weed growing in gravel, separated from others due to his self-importance that has been disguised as humility and wisdom [Sorrel in the gravel]. He describes himself as wearing a saffron colored robe [and the saffron robe]. Saffron robes are forbidden articles of clothing in Islamic tradition, and thus the wearing of one symbolizes a certain distance and separation from God. It is a realization that will spur Fish to action. He bemoans the fact that he has slept far too long like a shark among the sea grass growing in the shallows [sleeping like a shark in the cord grass]. He sees now that he has become a practitioner of solipsism [until I saw how far I’ve traveled down the solipsistic road]. Solipsism is the direct antithesis to the themes of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and community presented on Ten Stories, which we have already discussed at length. It is the belief that only the self-mind is sure to exist and that everything else is nebulous and illusory, and even possibly false. This flies directly in the face of Tiger’s realization that the one way to really be sure he exists and is alive is through the forgetting of self and the embracing of connections with others. Furthermore it contradicts Mother Elephant’s words about thoughts themselves being mere objects, no more sure to exist than the physical world.
Finally finished my examination of “Elephant in the Dock”. Like this whole thing, it’s probably going to need a heavy edit before I finally release it, but here is a sample anyway:
The first line of the song sets the scene. The gallows stands tall over the platform where the accused shall plead her case, surrounded by instruments of imprisonment, like stocks and pillories [Pillory and stocks at the gallows tree dock]. A crowd has gathered and awaits this “trial” impatiently as a storm approaches [the crowd grew impatient, as the clouds threatened rain]. Mother Elephant is led in by the police constable with her trunk and ankles firmly chained [Elephant arrive at the constable’s side, with her trunk locked in shackles and her ankles in chains]. Let us pause now to examine this trial about to take place, and what makes it a complete sham. In any normal circumstance, a trial would be held in a courtroom in order to determine whether or not the accused is guilty. Mother Elephant, despite being innocent of any crime, is already at the gallows when they put her on “trial”. There is no possibility they will acquit her in this case. The trial is all a show, as the song will soon indicate.
The Bailiff announces the arrival of the judge, who arrives to a fanfare of trumpets [Bailiff: “All rise, All rise! His honor presides!” The judge took the bench to the village brass cavalcade.] This fanfare solidifies the image of this whole trial as merely a show to satiate the bloodlust of the villagers, who have worked themselves into a frenzy with their rumor-mongering about the train crash that we witnessed in “Grist for the Malady Mill”. In fact, the word usage here almost brings to mind a certain carnival atmosphere to the proceedings, as if there is a circus in town and the center attractions is the hanging death of a criminal elephant. One can almost imagine children eating cotton candy and tossing darts at balloons while the townspeople string up God Himself. Elephant calls them on it pretty quickly, and refuses to swear any oath they offer her [Elephant refused to swear the oath].