Memory Analysis

Even though Cats doesn’t have much of a plot, there are still some incredible songs. Memory is my favorite song from the musical, which is heartbreaking. As a matter of fact, the song reminds me of “I Dreamed a Dream”. If you actually think it about, it does make sense. When I made the connection, I was able to realize Memory was a heartbreaking song- if I never made the connection, Memory would still be just an emotionless song.

[Jemima]

Daylight
See the dew on a sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses wither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day

[Grizabella]

Memory, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember a time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale, cold smell of morning
The street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning…

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn’t give in
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too
And a new day
Will begin

Sunlight through
The trees in summer
Endless mascarading

[Jemima and Grizabella]

Like a flower
As the dawn is breaking
The memory is fading

[Grizabella]

Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun

In a way, Grizabella reminds me of Fantine. Think about it- both used to have better lives, but eventually things became tragic for both of them. In Memory, Grizabella thinks of the life she used to have while still reflecting on her current life. Grizabella has, for some reason, became an outcast. As the song says “I knew what happiness was”- so she did have an incredible past life, but now her life became tragic for some reason- reasons we never get to know.

Parallels in Musicals

Yesterday, I talked about why musicals rely on each other. This post is kind of similar, but this post I am going to be talking about parallels that you can find in musicals.

One parallel is “Memory” and “I Dreamed A Dream”. These two songs are from Les Mis and Cats. “Memory” is sung by Grizabella in Cats and “I Dreamed A Dream” is sung by Fantine in Les Mis. Both songs are heartbreaking songs and reflect on the past. Both Grizabella and Fantine do not have very good lives at all so in both of these songs, they think about the past and realize just how worse their lives have gotten. In my opinion, “I Dreamed A Dream” is a stronger song and part of that is due to the fact that I have a stronger emotional connection to Les Mis

Without “I Dreamed A Dream”, I never would have realized “Memory” is a heartbreaking song. I did see Cats when I was in elementary school, but have no recollection of seeing. However, I do remember I always loved the song “Memory”.

Another parallel is between “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl”, two unrequited love songs from Les Mis and Wicked. They are both heartbreaking songs and without “On My Own”, I never would have realized “I’m Not That Girl” is heartbreaking, but at least I knew the song was sad.”On My Own” is about Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius and “I’m Not That Girl” is about Elphaba’s unrequited love for Fiyero.

In my personal opinion, “On My Own” from Les Mis is stronger and more heartbreaking than “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked. The thing with Elphaba is that literally just moments before she sings “I’m Not That Girl”, she realizes that she loves Fiyero and as a result, the song does not have room to be fully heartbreaking and her story doesn’t revolve around unrequited love, but instead her friendship with Glinda. In my opinion, this song goes beyond the unrequited love. One of her lines is “I wasn’t born for the rose or pearl” and through those lines, you realize that Elphaba doesn’t think that she is good enough for Fiyero because she is green ¬†and outside of that line, she realizes that her best friend, Glinda, also loves Fiyero and that line is part of why “I’m Not That Girl” is an insightful song. In this song, you need to be quite vulnerable, but at the same time you need to keep some innocence alive due to who Elphaba is at this point in the story.

“On My Own” is stronger and more powerful than “I’m Not That Girl” and as a result you feel even more heartbroken. Unlike Elphaba’s story, Eponine’s story revolves around her unrequited love for Marius. There is a big reason why she loves him so much. Outside of Marius, Eponine’s life is extremely tragic and heartbreaking. Her parents are the Thenardiers, who don’t even love her and horribly abuse her. She was raised to be a criminal and all she saw was darkness growing up. She was completely left to fend for herself on the streets. So in this burst of light, Marius entered her life and for the first time someone treated her with kindness. Because Marius is literally all she has in life, it explains why she loves him so much. She literally will do anything for the one she loves.

In “On My Own”, Eponine accepts the fact that Marius will never be hers, but she still decides to stick by his side no matter what. In my opinion, this song goes beyond the unrequited love. One of Eponine’s lines is “without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to” and you do realize just how empty her life is and another line is “a world full of happiness that I never known” and this shows just how unhappy she is and how her life has gotten even worse over the years. Those two lines shows just how insightful the song is.

Besides the “On My Own” and “I’m Not That Girl” parallel and the “Memory” and “I Dreamed a Dream”, there are other parallels in the world of musicals. Musicals vary so much in storyline, character, melodies, and emotion. It is crazy how one musical song can help you understand another musical song.