3rd hour English Honors
The Shared Obstacle
The story of the Prodigal Son was reminiscent to the theme of the struggle between faith and irreverence. The story was about two sons. One son, the older of the two, was the obedient child. The younger was somewhat rebellious and decided to leave his family with his portion of the family inheritance. He decided to blow all of his money on enjoyable but fleeting things. The decision, though not much explained in the story, had to be difficult. He had to choose between making the loyal, virtuous path or the one that would get him a lot of friends quickly. The younger son chose the road parallel to one of a non-believer. In desperation went back to his father, to work as a slave. When the younger son returned, instead of being resentful, the father was overjoyed to be reunited with his son again (Luke 15:11-32). The father in the story was a clear reflection of God. The younger son had to choose between what seemed trendy and what was right. The choice was a hard one to make, and ties to the theme of the difficulties between media and core beliefs. In the song “Ya Hey” by Vampire Weekend, Ezra Koenig uses allusion to convey the struggle of deciding between conforming to the popular opinion of today’s society and staying faithful to God.
There are several references to locations in the song that allude to the deeper meaning of all of the people around the world, past and present that struggle with faith. “Ya Hey” conveys allusions of the controversy of religion through references made by Ezra Koenig to places such as “Zion/Babylon/America” (2-6). The quotes convey that since the Old Testament, people have been doubting their faith due to popular opinion. Zion is another name for Jerusalem; the people of God. On several accounts, Jerusalem defies their creator, but God still shows them compassion. As for Babylon, or more commonly known as modern day Iraq, the biblical story of the Tower of Babel tells all. In the story, the people become so greedy and vain, that they see themselves as gods (Gen. 11: 1-19). While the Zions are typically seen as the holy ones, the Babylonians are generally seen as the evil, sinful people. The Babylonians represent the deplorable path. Furthermore, to the point of America, the morals have become fuzzy. The country was founded on monotheism, but as time has progressed, opinions have begun to differ and slowly the population has begun to fray from the Zion-like way and towards a more Babylon-esque way of life.
The artist uses allusion through the Bible to portray the point being made, which are the struggles that accompany a relationship with God. Allusion is shown by Ezra Koenig throughout the song indicating to biblical stories, speaking of Moses’ first encounter with God, such as “Through the fire through the flames, You won’t even say your name” (17-19). The use of the quote shows that God is mysterious and at times confusing. When Moses sees God as a burning bush, he is probably confused. When asked for God’s name, God replied to Moses, “ I am Who I am “(Exodus 3:14). The writer uses this story in particular to show that God skirts around the edges of his answers, and that his indirectness leads wavering believers to feel a sense of aloneness, pushing them into another lifestyle; one void of religious belief. This draws back to the theme of the hard questioning of faith.
The references are an allusion to God,