Chris McClendon Katrina Peterson English 1113 21 November, 2011 Startin’ with the Man in the Mirror Do you know what the best selling album of all time is? It is Thriller by Michael Jackson. Many people believe that he is the greatest artist of all time. Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in August of 1958. He was a popular artist even as a child, as he was in the beloved Jackson 5. He went solo with his career in 1971 and the album Thriller, which is the bestselling record of all time, came out in 1982. The album Bad came out in 1987 and had five songs the Hits 100 reach number one. One of these songs was “Man in the Mirror. It is a song about change. Michael Jackson sings about how things are in the world, how badly people are treated, and how he has been living his life. He goes on to say that “if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change. ” Throughout the entire song, Michael Jackson uses symbolism, imagery, and ethos to appeal to his listeners. This helps the listener connect with Jackson, and thus connect with the song. The different forms of symbolism and the use of pathos used in “Man in the Mirror” make it one of the most moving and influential songs of all time. Man in the Mirror” first connects to listeners by appealing to their emotions. One of the first things that Michael says in the song is that he wants to make a change and that it will feel real good. This makes listeners think that a change in their lives will feel good, and thus cause a happy reaction. He then introduces listeners to the children on the streets and how they do not have enough food to eat. This appeals to listener’s sadness. It is supposed to open people’s eyes to the situations of other people around the world instead of having all of our attention focused ourselves.
Another way that Jackson appeals to listener’s emotions is by bringing himself directly into the song saying that “(he has) been a victim of a selfish kind of love. ” This means that he has lived his life selfishly and failed to realize and acknowledge that there are other people in other parts of the world with nothing. Not only does Michael Jackson connect with his audience by appealing to their emotions, he also uses symbolism. “Man in the Mirror” has a lot of symbolism in it. The first and most frequently used symbolism throughout the song is the wind. He starts by saying that there is a wind that is blowing his mind.
This wind is not an actual wind. It is the sounds of the children, of the weak, of the less fortunate. He hears this “wind” and realizes that there are others that are less fortunate and that if he wants to help them, he has to make a change to himself first. He uses a “summer’s disregard”, a “broken bottle top”, and a “one man’s soul” to show the ways that people typically do not care about others in need and that is a problem. “It’s message, says Mr. (Matt) Blank, is that the ills of the world, like homelessness and suffering, can be cured if every individual makes his or her own contribution. (bbc. co. uk). Another example of symbolism in “Man in the Mirror” is in the chorus. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to make a change. And no message could have been any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change. ” (michaeljackson. com). Many people think that this is specifically talking about Michael Jackson. But if we dig into the lyrics, that is not so. It says that “(he is) starting with the man in the mirror… ” That seems to point that he is talking about his personal self.
But if you look closely at the next line, “I’m asking him to change his ways,” a question comes about. Is he referring to himself or is there a bigger picture here? He may be addressing his entire audience. He knows that everyone sees themselves when they look in the mirror, and so he is asking everyone to make a change to themselves so that they can all change the world. But the message here is very simply stated, if you want to make the world a better place, then you have start with the person that you see in the mirror, and that is you. http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8136372. stm