Title

This is the post where I explain the title of my blog.

Knowing that I was going to start a new blog for my Scotland adventure, and being the clever writer that I am (I’ll pause to give you time for an eye roll), I felt a lot of pressure to find the perfect name for my blog. And since my year here is all about film, music, and literature, then I felt a great need to use at least one of these sources to inspire the blog name, and I felt like it should be from Scottish culture, because, you know, I’m in Scotland. So I looked up lots of folk songs and poetry and Sir Walter Scott quotes, and this is what I came up with.

O, Jenny’s a’ weet, poor body,
Jenny’s seldom dry:
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin thro’ the rye!

Chorus:
Comin thro’ the rye, poor body,
Comin thro’ the rye,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin thro’ the rye!

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro’ the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

(chorus)

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro’ the glen
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warl’ ken?

(chorus)

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro’ the grain;
Gin a body kiss a body,
The thing’s a body’s ain.

(chorus)

Ilka lassie has her laddie,
Nane, they say, ha’e I
Yet all the lads they smile on me,
When comin’ thro’ the rye.

This is a Scottish folk song, words officialized by Robert Burns, perhaps Scotland’s best known poet.

Why this song/poem? Two reasons.

  1. Symbolically, the poem expresses a young woman’s struggle while growing up. I have chosen to walk this path, unprecedented and alone. I know it’s not going to be an easy path, but I know it will make me a better person: both stronger and more beautiful. I might meet a few “bodies” (symbolically that could be anything that changes a person) through my “rye” (again, this symbolically can be any kind of refiner’s fire), but when I make it to the other side, it will be happier and brighter (although there is much happiness and brightness along the way as well). And even though I’m now in my late twenties, I know there is a ton about life that I don’t yet understand, so I have a long, wide field of rye ahead of me.
  2. This poem is the inspiration for the title and one of the biggest symbols in Catcher in the Rye which is my favorite book. Holden Caulfield reads this poem and misinterprets it to mean “if a body catch a body coming through the rye.” Then he has a daydream of sorts about children playing in a field of rye near a cliff, and he catches them before they are about to fall. Holden’s struggle in the book is based on a resistance to the loss of innocence – he has lost his, but he will do everything in his power to prevent anyone else from falling to the same fate. What Holden couldn’t see is that even without innocence there is still beauty in the world. Too bad Holden didn’t also read Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. Fortunately, I have read both (and many other wonderful things that inspire hope and love and peace), so I am not afraid to walk through the field of rye.

Now let me quickly address the poem’s obvious romantic (and by some interpretations, more sexual) imagery. Although many people in my life are convinced that I will meet and marry a tall hunk of Scottish manliness while I’m here, what they don’t realize is that most Scots are actually pretty short. HA! But really, that is not my purpose or aim for being here. While men do tend to be the biggest thorn in my side, and I expect I will learn a lot from and about them while I’m here, I’m looking at the “meeting” and “kissing” in this poem purely symbolically, and I am certainly not endorsing the sexual interpretations of this poem. You can interpret it however you want; that is not my business. 🙂

 

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