American Pie, by Don McLean Essay

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Analysis of the song “American Pie”, by Don McLean

The song “American Pie”, by Don McLean, was a major rock-and-roll hit in 1971. McLean portrays famous rock-and-roll singer and songwriter Buddy Holly, who died in a plane crash in 1961 by using many rhetorical strategies. The different possible interpretations of this song made it one of the most controversial songs from the 1970’s.

Don McLean was a famous singer/songwriter who was popular in the 1970’s. His music is mostly classified into rock-and-roll. The audience of this song can be anyone. The majority of the people listening to the song in the 1970’s were hippies, or people who had open minds. The purpose of this song is not just to entertain people with beautiful music, but
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The address to the term, “Miss American Pie” references a plane that went down killing singer Buddy Holly. The line, “The quartet practiced in the park,” refers to the famous pop group Beatles who became famous shortly after the death of Holly. All of the other symbolism in this song revolves events that happened around that time of Holly’s death. McLean uses informal irony in the tone of the song to convey this deep symbolism. Because of the depth, there is a big controversy on what some of the words represent. Some people even think “Miss American Pie” represents the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.. One example of McLean’s use of irony is in the story about Holly. The irony comes from how he describes when Holly was younger, “he borrowed a coat from James Dean,” and then many years later he was a famous singer. McLean uses a subjective point of view as he uses his interpretations, comments, and judgments to appeal to pathos in this song.
McLean uses only two of the rhetorical appeals. Ethos is used when he describes the other singers most people know about. “And while Lenin read a book on Marx,” emphasizes ethos because Lenin was a famous singer who people respect. Pathos was used throughout the whole piece especially when he said “the lovers cried and the poets screamed.” This quote describes the people’s sadness towards the death of Holly, which appeals to the listener in many emotional ways. He also uses
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