"The Unknown Soldier" by The Doors
Analysis by Stryker Keating

Lyrics

Wait until the war is over

And we're both a little older

The unknown soldier

Breakfast where the news is read

Television children fed

Unborn living, living, dead

Bullet strikes the helmet's head

And it's all over

For the unknown soldier

It's all over

For the unknown soldier

Hut

Hut

Hut ho hee up

Hut

Hut

Hut ho hee up

Hut

Hut

Hut ho hee up

Comp'nee

Halt

Preeee-zent!

Arms!

Make a grave for the unknown soldier

Nestled in your hollow shoulder

The unknown soldier

Breakfast where the news is read

Television children fed

Bullet strikes the helmet's head

And, it's all over

The war is over

It's all over

The war is over

Well, all over, baby

All over, baby

Oh, over, yeah

All over, baby

Wooooo, hah-hah

All over

All over, baby

Oh, woa-yeah

All over

All over

Heeeeyyyy

Syntax, Tone, Diction, etc.

IMAGERY: This song brings the image of being a soldier on the front lines, and suddenly your life being taken. Bang, you’re dead. The harsh drums and yelling (the military march) bring a terrifying sense of death. The bells at the end make one think of the end of the war, soldiers being brought home...but it could also be a funeral.

SYNTAX: Before Jim Morrison sings the second half of the song after the march and salute section, the listener thinks “wow...what’s gonna happen next?” Repeating that “it’s all over for the unknown soldier” drives the point home

DICTION: The three words that stand out most in this song are "It's all over". The war is over, but so is the life of the soldier who died namelessly. The music itself goes from somber and quiet to a loud funky groove. A feeling of “everything isn’t okay…” to “for us at home it is!”

TONE: The tone is quite relaxed at parts, and reverent at others. Relaxed when it’s showing the part of the people at home watching the war on television, and reverent when it flips to the soldier fighting and being killed. Jim Morrison is obvious in his way of bringing awareness to the soldiers who died but weren't remembered.

Song Meaning

This song is about those who fought but were forgotten. “The war is over” for the people, and the Americans celebrate. But those who were lost in battle were almost forgotten. This song declares a message. The war is both over for the living, and the dead. The dead don’t have to fight anymore. “Breakfast where the news is read/television children fed”. This could have many meanings. Vietnam was the first televised war, so that could mean the children watch people being killed at breakfast. Or, it could allude to the children who grew up in front of the television. I’d stick with the first thought to keep the theme, although the second is definitely true too.

I feel that this image represents the unknown soldiers. There are people there, yes. But we don't know their faces. We don't know them. As we sat at home celebrating, these nameless, faceless people died. And we had no remorse, no second thoughts.

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