"Strange Fruit" - Viewers, Listeners and Authorship
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This paper explores viewers/listeners' responses to "Strange Fruit", a famous poem that became an inspiration for Billie Holiday's widely performed song of the same name. First, the paper examines the poem in a cultural context, further noting the complex interrelation between the author, or producer, and the viewer. Then, the paper discusses the various layers of Billie Holiday's performance of "Strange Fruit" on British television in 1959. Next, the paper addresses the text of the poem and how it compares to its presentation in lyrics. The paper also considers Diana Ross's performance of the song many years after Billie Holiday. Finally, the paper analyzes poetic readings of "Strange Fruit" that appear on You Tube. The paper concludes by stating that the various examples of "Strange Fruit" show that the texts' meanings are ultimately defined by the viewers themselves and strongly dependent on the cultural context of a given epoch.
From the Paper:"To understand the problem posed by Strange Fruit and its manifold interpretations, one has to consider the nature of cultural relations within which a meaning is given for different cultural artifacts. As Sturken and Cartwright explain, it is important to take into account the factor of individual viewers, as the latter are interpellated by the images, which require the viewers to understand the latter, but still allow for the unorthodox interpretations of the images in questions (Sturken and Cartwright, 53). The complex interrelation between the author, or producer, and the viewer may lead to the emergence of rather surprising interpretations of the classic texts and images.
"According to Stuart Hall, the viewers' reaction to the image may fall in one of the following three categories, i.e. the uncritical acceptance of the meaning attached to it by the author (producer) - dominant hegemonic reading; altered perception of some aspects of the image, while retaining its core interpretation - negotiated reading; and finally, the attachment to the image of the meaning that runs counter to that proposed by the author - oppositional reading (Sturken and Cartwright, 57-58). The conceptual differences in the perception of Strange Fruit by different audiences illustrate this concept brilliantly."
Sample of Sources Used:
- "Billie Holiday. Strange Fruit. London, 1959". YouTube.com. YouTube, 27 Feb. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.
- "Billie Holiday. Strange Fruit - Metaphor of Evil". YouTube.com. YouTube, 12 Dec. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.
- "Diana Ross Singing Strange Fruit, Hall of Fame 2000". YouTube.com. YouTube, 17 Nov. 2006. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.
- Gonzalez, Rita. "With none but the present stars to witness": Ken Gonzales-Day's Hang Trees. Catalogue Essay for the Pomona Museum of Art. 2006. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.
- Meliksetian, Anna. "California Strange Fruit: Ken Gonzales-Day's "Lynching in the West". Catalogue Essay for Cue Art Foundation. Ken Gonzalez-Day's Personal Website, July 2006. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
"Strange Fruit" - Viewers, Listeners and Authorship (2012, October 26) Retrieved June 22, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/strange-fruit-viewers-listeners-and-authorship-151926/
""Strange Fruit" - Viewers, Listeners and Authorship" 26 October 2012. Web. 22 June. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/strange-fruit-viewers-listeners-and-authorship-151926/>