I felt that the movie did a great job portraying Jimmy’s identify crisis. At the source of his angst is his constant questioning of who he is. The song “The Real Me” shows his struggle to see how others view him. Throughout the entire movie there was a constant feeling of uneasiness in Jimmy. He clearly is passionate about being a Mod, but discovers he is overly dedicated to the group. He never feels completely accepted at home or with his friends, even his parents question who he is. The scene when his Mom kicks him out of the house shows the unsettlement in his house: “Can you see the real me, Mama? Mama? Can you see the real me, Mama? Whoa, Mama” (The Real Me). Once he is on the street he just roams as though he is seeking his identity. The background music to the last scene is “I’ve Had Enough”:
“I’ve had enough of dancehalls,
I’ve had enough of pills,
I’ve had enough of street fights,
I’ve seen my share of kills,
I’m finished with the fashions,
And acting like I’m tough,
I’m bored with hate and passion,
I’ve had enough of crime and love.”
As this song plays he runs a motorbike off a cliff and it is left to the audience to guess if he jumped too. Questioning who he is has become too much and this is how he handles the stress. I have come to the conclusion that he jumps off the bike before it flies over the cliff. Although Jimmy struggles with mental illness and many other things, I believe he is just blowing off steam in this scene. I don’t think he was devoted to jumping off the cliff.
The movie Quadrophenia and the Rock Opera have several differences that strengthen the meaning behind what the who attempted to do when they wrote the music and lyrics to Quadrophenia. One vast difference was the character that Jimmy is quite close to who happens to be a rocker. In the early interactions between the two of them, it is clear that Jimmy is very comfortable around his rocker friend, but when other mods are around he acts as though he doesn’t recognize his friend. It illustrated that Jimmy has difficulty accepting the mod movement when the movement does not align with his lifestyle before he embraced the mod movement. In other words, he only fully takes on and embraces the mod movement with things that came about after he accepted the movement, like his job.
The ending to the movie was a fantastic representation of how Jimmy is conflicted internally as to how serious he should take the mod movement. All of his friends, and even his biggest mod idol ace face, appear to be sell outs to Jimmy as they cannot embrace the mod movement with every piece of their lives. He cannot understand how they are content with only being a mod when it is time to go to parties. The ending is also very ambiguous to whether or not Jimmy drives off the cliff with the bike, giving his whole self to the mod lifestyle, or if he bails at the last second and saves himself from the mod lifestyle. Over all, the movie was more enjoyable to me than the Rock Opera, but it was important to see the two different mediums, and how the who’s message about youth could be portrayed in two different, yet related, ways.
To me, the film differed widely from the rock-opera because the movie seemed to focus more on Jimmy’s love life and less on his internal struggle. The movie made his actions seem to be dependent on whether or not he was with Steph. It ignored for the most part his schizophrenia, making a casual reference to it, instead of it being the focus of the story. The movie seemed to make Jimmy’s desire to be a Mod a result of trying to impress Steph. Also, the movie introduced a Rocker friend which was absent in the album. This further proceeded to make his internal conflict less about his schizophrenia and more about social acceptance.
First of all I do not think that the movie and the book portray the same story. In the movie i feel Jimmie has more of an actual connection to his love interest, Steph, than he does in the album. Also the album seems to have more songs in it to send an overall message along with the story of Jimmie. So to compare the two completely i don’t think does either one justice, because i think they do a better job at highlighting certain topics better than the other. For instance, just from the media perspective when you listen to a song you can hear what Jimmie is thinking, what he is experiencing, and through the music possibly feel real empathy. However through seeing what Jimmie is able to see and witnessing the mod movement the movie does a better job of exposing the external impact to Jimmies life. If i had to chose a favorite i would definitely say the album, but in my mind the book is almost always better than the movie and it just allows more insight to Jimmie’s struggle.
I enjoyed the story line that the movie created for Quadrophenia. It wasn’t exactly what I imagined the plot line to be when listening to the music, but it worked. Personally, I think the album did a better job of portraying the mental aspects of Jimmy, the movie didn’t portray his mental issues until the very end. The creation of a love interest added a lot to the story, I think. She contributed to a lot of the mental change in Jimmy near the end. The movie did a great job showing the mods vs rockers fight. I LOVED the fight scene on the beach! It was easy to tell the clear differences between the two groups. The only confusion I had was that in the music, it seems that Jimmy dallies with being a rocker for brief periods of time but in the movie that never really happened.
He also was much more social in the movie than I imagined him to be from listening to the music. In the music, Jimmy is often singing about being different and disillusioned with the mod crowd, yet in the movie he continues to be actively a mod for a long time. I didn’t get the outcast vibe from Jimmy in the movie at all, though they did a great job portraying the rebelliousness and youthfulness of both Jimmy and the mods. I thought the Sting character (was his name Ice?) wasn’t a big enough character in the movie. “The Punk Meets the Godfather” wasn’t in the movie and I think that was a huge loss. I don’t think there was enough character development for Sting’s character; if I hadn’t been listening to the music, I wouldn’t have understood his significance in the movie at all.
Overall, I think it was a great representation of Quadrophenia even if it did fall short in a few aspects. I enjoyed watching it and I feel like I understand more about the music after having seen the movie.
I agree with Whitney that I didn’t really see much of Jimmy’s mental issues. When we did see those, it was when other people remarked on them. If I didn’t know that he was schizophrenic from listening to the album and reading the lyrics, it would have been very hard to know that he actually was and it was’t just speculated by only watching the film. I thought this was especially evident in the part when Steph says he’s crazy for fighting his best friend, which I thought was a pretty normal reaction for a guy finding out his best friend got with the girl he liked forever and was finally doing something about. I understand that it is really hard to display a mental illness in a movie because it’s internalized, but the album did that so effectively that I expected it from the movie as well; however, it did not deliver in that department.
I don’t really know what I was expecting when I first sat down to watch the film. I thought that it was good and it was nice to have some visuals to supplement the story, but I don’t really know that it gave me much more clarity on anything.
One scene that I really noticed was when Spider gets beaten up and how eager Jimmy is to beat the shit out of any rockers he can get his hands on. He has this hyper masculine reaction until he realizes that he was beating up on his friend that really didn’t deserve it, so he drives away. This scene reminds me a lot of the song Dr. Jimmy. In the song, there’s a needlessly violent attitude, and then he runs home, just like he runs away during the fight when he see’s how fucked up he has become.
I really wish that the movie had portrayed Jimmy’s mental illness a lot better than they did. I expected the character of Jimmy in the movie to have that same frantic energy I felt from Jimmy in the songs. He was way too normal for me and I think they missed out on an opportunity to show how hard he internally struggled to find his identity.
I realize this is a movie and it would have been difficult to include all of the album in its entirety, but I consider myself to be a bit of a purist and it bothered me that the songs were rearranged and that some of them weren’t included in the film at all.
I think that Quadrophenia exemplifies youth, more so than in any other album I have ever heard. Without even looking at the lyrics, the sound of The Who’s rock and roll music hits perfectly on teenage angst. In the song “The Real Me,” I feel like it does a good job of portraying what it is like to be in youth. He asks himself, the doctor, the preacher and his mother, “Can you see the real me?” I think that that is a common question that young people think about a lot because after all of these institutions like family, church, and school throw their ideals upon young people, are those important institutions then in turn going to be able to separate how you choose to emerge as a person from the you that they have worked so diligently to form a particular way.
The struggle that Jimmy has with his parents is also very indicative of youth. He says, “Mine want me their way”. I have yet to meet a teenager that has never fought with their parents over some aspect of growing up and the fight for independence. It’s a tough transition period that Quadrophenia illustrates nicely. The struggle between who really knows what is best for Jimmy is evident between him and his parents, and he eventually leaves home to venture out on his to fully have ownership of himself.
The themes in Quadrophenia are a little extreme, but if it is thematically toned down a bit, I could see many people in their youth identifying with this album for years to come.
I had very high hopes for the Quadrophenia movie. I thought that all of the ambiguous, unclear moments in the album would somehow become magically clear when represented in front of me. The movie, however, kept many of those ambiguous moments and messages unclear, refusing to give too much away to the audience. Upon reflection, i think that this was a smart choice. Although the storyline was different in some ways, and the order of the songs switched up, i think the movie caught the spirit of the album in the way it was intended. While i was primed to expect the songs in a certain order, the movie’s order of songs almost made more sense, especially for the story they were trying to tell. Jimmy’s mental illness was the only portion of the story i felt was left lacking in the movie. Aspects of mental illness, however, are difficult to depict in a movie, without a lot of spoken internal dialogue, which i think would have taken away from the rest of the story. So in that respect, i think they did the best they could to showcase his schizophrenia. Lastly, unlike some of my classmates, i really agreed with the ending of the film. I thought the ambiguous shot of the destroyed scooter without Jimmy was the perfect way in which to let the viewer decide for themselves what Jimmy did to solve his identity crisis. Any type of absolute ending would have taken away from the nature of the story and the album.
The biggest question i had regarding the movie was how much creative influence the band had over it. Upon doing further research, i couldn’t find much regarding their thoughts or influence on it. I found that the movie almost did not happen, due to drummer Keith Moon’s death in 1979. So that leads me to believe that the band did have some hand in making it or that would have had no effect on it. It would be interesting to know if the band agreed with the artistic changes made to the film. After all, it is their story so it would be helpful to know if they agreed with the way it was told.
In the Who’s Quadrophenia, the angsty, lost nature of youth is depicted through one character, Jimmy’s, struggle for identity and purpose. The rock opera beings with the song “The Real Me” where Jimmy asks, “Can you see the real me, can you?” This is a big question that most youth ask themselves and those around them. Youth is all about finding your identity, and sometimes that method comes from trying on different ones to see if they fit. That appears to be what Jimmy is doing throughout Quadrophenia with the Mod identity. In the second song of the album, “Cut My Hair” Jimmy is already beginning to doubt this new identity, when he says, “I’m dressed right for a beachfight, But I just can’t explain why that uncertain feeling is still here in my brain.”
This rock opera, though extreme in its descriptions of drug use and mental illness, still resonates with the youth struggle for identity and meaning. I think it’s most important message about youth is that it’s okay to struggle with identity. This beautiful struggle is what makes us all human and i think the Who does a great job of stating that.
This was not as I imagined at all, maybe I had too high of expectations or just a different vision for how the movie was going to run. Obviously, something can not exactly follow a different work to a tee. With listening to the music, it is up to the listener to make what we want of Jimmy’s life through he music. The severity of his schizophrenia, we had to pick it apart and really see what he was going through so we all have different views. When I pictured the movie I envisioned all of his internal conflict to be much more evident and it was not to me. The only parts where I could really see the conflict he is dealing with is at the very beginning and at the end. You can see he upset and he is flustered with life that he does not know what there is to do. But more or so the conflicts in the movie seem external. We see that Jimmy’s friend, the one who seems to be the most genuine, is a rocker who wants everyone to see past the division between the two groups. Although, the conflict between the two is in the music as well it is just portrayed so differently that without reading the music I would not have understood what was happening. With the music I feel like there is more to be understood and felt and with the movie I feel like it barely did any of that.
Quadrophenia, the film released in 1979 based on the rock opera of the same name by The Who, embodies The Who’s work in many ways but it did leave me a little lacking. While the movie does include the music from the original album, the movie also appears to focus on the music a lot less than I would expect from a work that is based on a rock opera, specifically a rock opera that was never intended to be staged or made into a film. During specific scenes in the movie, the film does well to place the songs in the background of situations that are spoken about in the song, such as Jimmy’s train ride down to Brighton or his realization that his role model is working as a Bell Boy. This portions of the movie gave it more body by keying directly into the music and lyrics and allowing the audience to play out those lyrics in real time. But other portions of the film appeared to forget that there was music entirely, random scenes of Jimmy’s bath time or his sister tanning appeared to come out of no where. This scenes did give the work a bit more length to it and possibly more depth, by allowing Jimmy to run into an old friend who happens to be a Rocker now, or by giving the scenery that Jimmy is not an only child (even though I don’t remember seeing his sister after that one scene). Quadrophenia makes for an interesting listen as it takes you back into the life of a mod, but not just any mod, a mod who is finding that his identity in that culture won’t ever make him unique. The film gave faces and scenes to the lyrics of the original album, but in itself the film doesn’t live up to the creativity and enlightenment that the original album has.
“Why do I have to be different to them?
Just to earn the respect of a dance hall friend,
We have the same old row, again and again.
Why do I have to move with a crowd
Of kids that hardly notice I’m around,
I have to work myself to death just to fit in.”
In this verse it is clear that Jimmy, the mod who is searching for his identity, feels as though he does not fit in. There is a strong desire to fit in within most youth. Youth desire to fit in and be appreciated by their peers. Throughout the song, especially in this verse, he feels different. He feels as though he has to work really hard to fit in or to be noticed. Earlier in the song he discusses his clothing and his hair and it sounds as though his physical appearance sets him apart from other people. There is a strong sense of confusion in Jimmy, as though his desires are conflicting. His first line is saying he doesn’t care and does not want to cut his hair, but later on expresses his discontent with not fitting in. I think the main theme of this song is the battle of identity within Jimmy and his unhappiness with not understanding who he is.
**Musical analysis: The Who definitely has a story to tell and a message to get across to their audience. I believe getting their message across to the listeners is their main goal with this album. I have never listened to The Who before and have not heard any songs from other albums, but the singer’s voice comes out very clear in every song. He enunciates well and his voice doesn’t blend in with the background music. This definitely isn’t accidental and serves the purpose of making sure the listener hears and processes every word. I also pick up on a contrast in the background music. The drums and guitar do not fit together at times in the songs, as though the notes that are being played conflict with one another. To me, the music itself is unsetting, and portrays a sense of confusion.
Quadrophenia portrays several ideas with one of them being the internal battle of Jimmy’s personalities. In the Song “The Real Me”, this idea of Jimmy’s internal conflicts is highlighted as he goes around to different figures in society, family, medicine, religious, and self figures, asking if they can see and understand the real him. He is also illustrating that the majority of society, including himself, does not fully understand or even recognize who the youth in society are or how they feel, with himself as the prime example. This idea is also recognized in the song “Cut my Hair”.
In “Cut my hair”, the first several lines, “I got to move with the fashion or be outcast”, exemplifies how there are two different paths that the youth have to chose from. Either conforming to how society wants them to act, or conforming to the social rebels of the Mods and the rockers. No matter what decision the youth makes, they can be considered an outcast on one side of the spectrum or the other. They must either take part in their generational norms or societies norms. Both of which can be considered outcasts.
In The Who’s work Quadrophenia, the ideas and insights into not only the youth of their age but the youth of every age is very prevalent throughout. In the song “Cut My Hair”, the idea of Jimmy’s, the main character Quadrophenia follows along with, struggle with finding his identity in the youth culture of the time finds its explanation. The song starts with the question “Why should I care if I got to cut my hair?”, giving an example of a mundane task in Jimmy’s life that seems like such a foolish thing to care about, but Jimmy’s peer group knows that his hair and his entire look must be a specific way in order to fit in, or to not fit in with the generation that came before (“Cut My Hair”, line 1-2). Jimmy gives a description of the clothes he must wear, the music he listens to, the activities he participates in (hanging out at a dance hall), and the exciting beach fights he must be in, all descriptions of the culture that he has to work so very hard to stay in other wise he would “be outcast” (“Cut My Hair, line 4). Jimmy’s struggle is outlined by his thoughts everytime he participates in the fashion or activities of the Mods subculture he is a part of, because he says things such as “Why do I have to move with a crowd of kids that hardly notice I’m around, I have to work myself to death just to fit in” (“Cut My Hair”). This song gives a start to Jimmy’s inner struggle with fitting in with his own subculture and the culture of his parent’s generation, a struggle that is being mimicked all over England at this time as youth’s choose to join the Mods or the Rockers, both groups which go against the generations that came before.
In the song “Cut My Hair,” there seems to be a struggle going on inside Jimmy between wanting to fit in with the Mods and not really seeing the point of doing so. He is feeling pressured by his friends to join and look like the Mods. Jimmy says “I have to work myself to death just to fit in,” indicating that he felt compelled to join the Mods, not necessarily of his own free will. He feels isolated, even in the middle of a crowd, which ties back in to modernism and how the youth were trying to find a way to express the pent up emotions inside them.
Musically, in “Cut My Hair,” this struggle is demonstrated through the music as well. The verses echo the questioning part of Jimmy while the chorus portrays the part of Jimmy that wants to be a Mod. The verses are softer and almost soothing, but the chorus is brash and loud, with the instruments expressing the wildness of his emotions.
After listening to Quadrophenia, I thought it was about how life, and particularly the period of youth, has a lot of ups and downs. This is reflected in the rapid changes from heavy and angry to softer and more hopeful and then right back again. It sounded like the embodiment of a teenager that changes their mind more quickly than even they can comprehend. But then, I thought about how Quadrophenia came after “The Real Me,” in which Jimmy asks a preacher, a doctor, his mother, and himself who he was. In that context, Quadrophenia could also be read as Jimmy’s four sides of his personalities each fighting to come through. The whole song shifts so rapidly between different tempos and major and minor keys that each change can be seen as one of the four different ‘voices’ coming through.
“The Punk Meets the Godfather,” a lyrically provocative song, is a good example on the album so far of the disillusionment that seems to characterize the Mod youth. Having seen the film, and now having listened to the entire album, it is difficult for me to separate Jimmy from the the “I” in the album, and so I am making assumptions based on this. Hopefully these are not off-base.
The Godfather is a member of The Who, identifiable by the lines, “But I grew and I bent/ Don’t you know? don’t it show?/ I’m the punk with the stutter.” This, if not obvious enough, is followed by a synthesized rendition of the famous “My Generation” anthem. So if a Who member (probably Townsend) is the Godfather, is Jimmy the Punk? If so, since Jimmy identifies as a Mod, and not a Punk, then the moniker probably comes from the derogatory connotation of the word. A Punk is usually what someone from the older generation would call a younger person that is inexperienced and impudent. Using this word is definitely a nod to the genre of music as well though, since it came after the Mod movement, and was correlated with it. This exchange then becomes an argument between a founder of a movement that wouldn’t exist without the followers it had, and this has created a tension that points in both directions to the breaking down of a subculture. How fitting, since the film/ album is in large part about the death of the Mods? The last stanza makes a lot of sense in this context, the Godfather lamenting the cage he seems to have found himself in: “I have to be careful not to preach/ I can’t pretend that I can teach/ And yet I’ve lived your future out/ By pounding stages like a clown.” But he ends the song with a statement, “It all belongs to me you know” which seems both righteous and proud, and also a warning against the inevitable future of the Punk, the inheritance of the cage.
The Who’s “Quadrophenia” is filled with youthful angst. They seem to be so frustrated as they try to figure out themselves as well as figure out the world. There is a rebelliousness that seems to stem from their belief that the authority figures in their lives haven’t figured anything out either. There is a great sense of restlessness in the lyrics, as they seem to be so inwardly conflicted as well as so frustrated with corruption they see in the world. In the song “The Punk Meets the Godfather”, they seem be describing a sort of youthful oppression, which causes the youth to strongly resist conformity. It is like they feel that they are not truly free to become their own people, but are rather molded into whatever they become. The nature and energy of the band is also very youthful, as they were not at all subtle in their stage presence. The act of smashing their instruments very clearly demonstrates their need to express their frustration.
“Cut My Hair” is just one example of youth in Quadrophenia. The theme within the lyrics is a dilemma of Jimmy wanting to be a Mod but wanting to respect his parents with whom he still lives. This dilemma is reflected in the alternating pattern of the first four stanzas. In the first stanza, the tempo is slow and the vocals are reflective which signifies that Jimmy is pondering cutting his hair to fit in with the Mods. Fitting in has always been a youthful dilemma. The next stanza’s tempo is faster matching the excitement of being a part of the Mods which Jimmy wants. The third and fourth stanza repeat the same themes respectively. However, the fifth stanza has a different tempo and sound altogether to show that Jimmy is mad at the Mods for making it difficult, but the sound is also climatic giving the impression that Jimmy has reached a decision. The climax is in the sixth stanza where Jimmy’s dad essentially turns his back on him, “My dad just left for work/He wasn’t talking”. A radio broadcast of a report about a riot by the Mods and Rockers makes me think that Jimmy’s dad turned his back on Jimmy because he was involved in the riot, thus telling Jimmy’s decision. “Cut My Hair” is an example of youth because it deals with the problem that most youth have with fitting in and being accepted by whoever will accept them.
Wanting to fit in or basically be accepted is a problem most youth have and I believe the root cause is the relationship the youth has with their father. Perhaps the appeal that gangs have today would not be as strong if those youth had a good relationship with their father. I think this could be why Jimmy had a tug to be a Mod because he felt he would be accepted by them since the relationship with his father was indifferent.
In the song, “The Real Me,” by The Who, the adults with which Jimmy clashes seem to have forgotten the lack of direction that comes with youth. For that matter, almost all who have matured out of their youth do not remember, or perhaps simply dismiss, the angst, confusion and anger that they almost certainly experienced in their youth. At first, Jimmy visits the “the doctor” who is just “another shrink” that should help him work through whatever issues he may be having; he should understand the confusion of his patient because he was also a youth once. Next, he tells his mother, “I’m crazy ma, help me” which she dismisses as a hereditary issue. Perhaps more than any other person, his mother ought to understand the problems that come with youth and its instability because “it runs in the family” and she has clearly experienced it herself. Lastly, Jimmy “scares [the preacher] a little” because the preacher does not understand him either. The “lies and hate” that the church spread alienated the youths they wished to guide and it has forgotten how difficult it is to truly connect to and believe in anything as a youth, especially in the modern age. Jimmy is left lost and confused by those who ought to have guided him; they dismissed him as an angry young man as if they had never experienced the strife of youth before. The adults in Jimmy’s life have left him to make his own mistakes when they need to give him the guidance he so desperately seeks.
In Eliot’s The Waste Land, youth can be seen in several ways. One way to interpret youth in the poem is the absence or robbery of youth from the soldiers. Because of the things they have seen and experiences they have had, the soldiers are missing a piece of themselves. World War I robbed them of their youth by taking from them the innocence and freedom of their childhood and replacing it with shell shock, nightmares and permanent damage to both their bodies and minds.
This can be seen throughout the poem with the different representations of shell shock and PTSD, the nervous ticks, the the repetitions, etc. The comparison of WWI to the ancient battle at Mylae adds to this idea of missing youth by comparing themselves to warriors from centuries past. Also, the poem refers to the dead quite often – the “lost generation”. These men and women were not only robbed of their youth and innocence, but also their lives. Eliot uses this missing generation to underline the theme of robbed youth of the WWI survivors.
What anxieties does The Waste Land seem to have about youth in the aftermath of WWI?
From the beginning of the poem, I was very taken by all of the references to other works that Eliot makes. The Waste Land’s epigraph from Satyicon echoes the sentiment of the whole poem and what it was like during this era. Sybil’s body is decaying, but she is unable to die. This is similar to what happened after the war; society is literally crumbling all around them, and all they are left with is lamenting over the glory of how it used to be.
Even though the amount of lives lost was astronomical, the people that were left behind were deeply affected in their day to day lives. In the wake of this grave devastation, “lilacs out of the dead land” were sprouting (Eliot line 2). The beauty of a simple flower sprouting in the midst of a waste land reminds everyone that life must continue. It’s a cruel reminder that instead of a field of wild flowers, it has literally become a waste land between the trenches, and a burial site for dead soldiers. The landscape of life and the terrain have both been altered, and every aspect of culture and society was tainted by the war. Life became very surreal after the war, and it would have been hard to have been a youth during that time period. An entire generation was lost and they just have to go on with life the best that they can, but there’s also a sense of waiting. With the references to Tristan and Isolde, I feel like the youth at the time were like Tristan when he was waiting for Isolde to arrive as he was dying; he was “neither / Living nor dead, and [he] knew nothing” (Eliot lines 39-40). There was just this anticipation in the air of what was to come next. There was also a tension they must have been experiencing between moving on and remembering.