Thuy Nguyen
Professor Miller
English 1302
10 Nov 2010
An Analytical Essay of “Memory” by Trevor Nunn
“Memory” is a famous song in a well-known musical named “Cats” which is written by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1981. Its lyric is written by Trevor Nunn, the “Cats” director. Nunn gets the idea from T.S. Eliot’s poems, “Preludes” and “Rhapsody on a Windy Night.” “Memory” attracts attention of audience not only by its beautiful lyric, but also by its beautiful rhyme. That is why it has been covered by numerous famous singers, such as Elaine Paige, Barbra Streisand, and Celine Dion.
The musical starts with a scene that all the cats gather to choose the most deserving member to take the “Heaviside Layer” journey in order to be reborn. To be chosen, a cat has to prove that she or he will appreciate the new life. Grizabella, who left the Jellicle society, now turns back in a shabby, old condition, in contrast with her past, a glamour cat. She sings the “Memory” which expresses her nostalgia about her glorious past and her hope that the new life will be better.
The first five sentences describe Grizabella’s loneliness and her gloomy fate. The song starts with an image of a silent midnight. The composer uses a high-pitch woman’s voice on a soft piano background as if there is only the singer’s voice echoing in the midnight to give the audience the feeling how lonely Grizabella is. She is so lonely that even the moon does not smile to her, but “smiling alone.” With her shabby, old state now, she thinks that something bad will happen to her: “the withered leaves collect at my feet” and “the wind begins to moan.” Because of being isolated, she has only her memory which is about the time when she was beautiful and glamour to comfort herself. The sentence “Let the memory live again” makes the audience think that she is trying to make this happy time back again. However, “A streetlamp gutters” image gives the audience the feeling that Grizabella is too tired to fight against...