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Tupac Dear Mama, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1030

Essay

The analysis of Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama” reveals many different poetic motifs that are also found in standard or more traditional poetry. The lyrics confront the listener or reader with an autobiographical account of Shakur’s relationship to his mother. This is the main thematic focus of the poem. Simultaneously, Shakur uses various tools of poetic form to get this message across. In the following essay, I will analyze some of the key aspects of Shakur’s lyricism.

The first response to the lyrics is tied to its main theme, which can be interpreted as Shakur’s apology to his mother. In the context of hip hop music, a style that is often associated with “macho” lyricism, the reader or listener is immediately struck by the more personal aspect of this particular text. Shakur clearly shows his love for his mother in his lyrics, and in this sense, it can be said that he breaks from some of the typical clichés of the hip hop genre. There is a certain pathetic melodramatic quality to the lyrics, but this does not take away from the sincerity of the text. It is arguable this sincerity which is the most appealing part of the lyrics, as it presents a fundamental human relationship that everyone can relate to.

In this regard, the audience for Shakur’s lyrics is very broad. Shakur chooses a fundamental relationship – that between mother and child – and makes this the central theme of his lyrics. Shakur thus makes lyrics that enlarge his potential audience rather than diminishing it. His lyrics essentially can be understood by a wide number of people, and this contributes to its basic appeal.

“Dear Mama” is clearly an autobiographical account that centres around Shakur’s relationship to his mother. This is the central theme of the poem. This theme takes the particular form of Shakur expressing regret for not appreciating his mother. The lyrics work in the style of an apology for this neglect. Shakur lists many of the things that his mother did for him, and in this way shows that he has not forgotten these actions. This also demonstrates that he did in fact notice them at the time. At the same time, Shakur lists the mistakes he made in his own life. In this way, he takes responsibility for the more negative aspects of their relationship. The theme can therefore be understood as taking a psychological perspective, as Shakur reflects back on his life and his relationships in order to analyze them. In the poem, he recognizes that in the past he did not take personal responsibility for some of his actions, using his mother as a scapegoat. The explicit theme of the poem as an apology and appreciation to his mother shows that Shakur’s self-analysis clearly places the blame for their troubles largely on himself.

Accordingly, the speaker plays the dominant role in the lyrics. Shakur gives a first-person account of his experiences. Shakur makes clear in the poem that he is the speaker. This demonstrates that he is fully prepared to take responsibility for his actions and to apologize for the negative turn in their relationship. It also helps clarify that he is apologizing to his mother in a direct as opposed to indirect way. He does so by placing himself and his mother at the center of the narrative, presenting to the listener/reader details of their life. Therefore, the tone of the poem is that of a pure sincerity. There is no ambiguity to Shakur’s lyrics, as only one time does he briefly criticize his mother for her drug abuse. The rest of the poem is an unbridled appreciation. This shows not only Shakur’s sincere appreciation for his mother, but also allows the audience to appreciate all that she has done for him. At the same time, this causes the listener/speaker to reflect on their own personal relationships, and potentially realize instances when he or she was perhaps guilty of being unappreciative.

The diction of the poem is colloquial. This demonstrates that Shakur is mostly concerned with communicating with his mother, using his “natural” language, as well as a language that most people can understand and are familiar with. The lyrics in this regard are mostly literal, as Shakur is trying to make clear his appreciation for his mother. If Shakur would rely on more figurative language, this would only obscure the clear intent of the lyrics as an ode to his mother. In this sense, Shakur does not want to introduce any ambiguity into his text, but wants to make it lucid that he really cares for his mother. In other words, a figurative approach would only detract from the main objective and theme of the lyrics. By using a literal approach, his message is clear throughout the lyrics.

The structure and form is therefore also very straightforward, using a traditional verse-chorus-verse approach. By using a traditional form, Shakur once again shows that he wants his message to be clearly understood by both his mother and his audience. The structure and form emphasizes a directness that corresponds to the theme of the poem as an apology and appreciation of his mother.

The sound effects follow this same principle. Shakur uses a very simple alternating rhyme scheme. This use of traditional sound patterns once again shows that Shakur’s main emphasis in the lyrics is on clarity. He does not want to make the aims of his work ambivalent. The usage of a simple rhyme scheme also makes it easier to remember the lyrics of the poem, as the repetition of sound effects stays in the listener/speaker’s head. This demonstrates that Shakur wants his words to be remembered by the listener, so that the appreciation for his mother is not forgotten. Once again, a more complicated rhyming structure and usage of sound effects would only detract from the message of the poem.

“Dear Mama” by Tupac Shakur effectively combines elements of theme, narrative, form and structure in order to support the main message of his lyrics: the appreciation for his mother. Thus, all the decisions in the piece are dedicated to its basic concept. This makes the lyrics a unified and complete whole, while also making the intent of the piece clear.

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