Sara Bareilles "Bluebird" Analysis

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This is an essay I wrote for my AP English 3 class at school. It analyzes the song "Bluebird" by Sara Bareilles. The lyrics I refer to are typed up at the end.

Submitted: November 05, 2011

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Submitted: November 05, 2011



How do you let go of your love? The song "Bluebird," written and performed by Sara Bareilles, deals with this problem. The emotional depth of the lyrics and melody make this song resonate with me in a profound way. In this piece, the speaker shifts from covering her real feelings to being honest with the audience and herself through engaging imagery, well-chosen repetition, and powerful symbolism, proving that love is not easily dissolved.

Bareilles, the songwriter, provides detailed imagery for the listener. The best example of this device is in line 15, "This pair of wings worn and rusted." Hearing these lyrics brings to mind images of old cars or trucks. They may be worn out, a little rusty, but if they are cranked hard enough, they'll probably run; they will get where they need to go. This image helps to clarify the speaker's attitude toward her relationship ending: she has sat around a little too long, now she has to leave, so it may be a little hard to start up. Bareilles' use of imagery also portrays the lonely feelings associated with this song. Lines ten and eleven, with their image, "And so here we go bluebird/ Back to the sky on your own," capture this feeling of solitude and isolation, though not obviously at first. An image of a bluebird flying through the boundless sky would appear at first to be the very picture of freedom, but upon closer examination one begins to appreciate that the bluebird must be very lonely up there. The same outlook can be applied to the breaking of a relationship. An outside observer might see two people breaking up as freedom for those people to establish a new relationship with a different partner, but odds are at least one, if not both of them are experiencing loneliness and despair. The speaker's use of this image demonstrates the same principle.

Next, there is a use of repetition. Lines twenty-one, twenty-two, and twenty-three repeat the phrase "Oh, let him go bluebird," placing obvious emphasis on it and calling the listener's attention to it. The repetition captures the speaker's internal conflict, her struggle with her own feelings. It also helps the listener to feel her pain in that the repetition is a device to represent the difficulty of leaving her love behind.

Lastly, the songwriter employs symbolism frequently and effectively. Lines ten through fourteen and nineteen through twenty-five, in which the speaker addresses the "bluebird" are symbol-heavy and pack a powerful punch. The bluebird is actually a symbol representing her love, and her love is fighting to let go of the man with whom her relationship just ended. This dialogue with the bluebird, therefore, is in fact the speaker's dialogue with herself. It gives the listener more insight into her thoughts and this insight makes her struggle more relatable and understandable.

Bareilles' "Bluebird" is a musically simple song. the only instruments involved are a piano, her singing, and the occasional orchestral accent. Lyrically, however, this piece examines the human tendency to hold on to something, even when that something is already gone, and the trouble of ending a relationship in which a lot of emotions were invested. These qualities make this song timeless. It deals with heartbreak, and as long as there is love, there will be heartbreak. As long as there is heartbreak, people will be able to understand, appreciate, and relate to this composition.


Word came through in a letter,

One of us changing our minds.

You won't need to guess who,

Since I usually do

5 Not send letters to me that are mine.

I told him I saw this coming,

That I'd practically packed up my things.

I was glad at the time that I said I was fine,

But all honesty knows, I wasn't ready, no.

10 And so, here we go bluebird,

Back to the sky on your own.

Oh let him go bluebird

Ready to fly, you and I

Here we go.

15 This pair of wings worn and rusted

From too many years by my side.

They can carry me, swear to be sturdy and strong,

But see turning them on still means goodbye.

And so, here we go bluebird,

20 Gather your strength and rise up.

Oh, let him go bluebird

Oh, let him go bluebird

Oh, let him go bluebird

Ready to fly, you and I

25 Here we go...

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