Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen
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Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen. Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen. Starter. Write a few words about a time you felt your brother or sister let you down. Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen. Learning Objectives. As we study this poem you will learn: The story of the poem

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Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen

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Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen


Starter

Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen

Starter

  • Write a few words about a time you felt your brother or sister let you down.


Learning objectives

Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen

Learning Objectives

As we study this poem you will learn:

  • The story of the poem

  • About Leonard Cohen

  • That poems can pose questions as well as provide answers

  • More about the terms,

    Metaphor: Tone:Poetry & Music: Subtext

  • To explore the subtext of the poem to discover meaning.

    You will also complete some mini tasks, a test and an assignment based on the poem.

    Subtext : the underlying or implicit meaning of a literary work.

    That is, what something means, not what it says.


Famous blue raincoat leonard cohen

Famous Blue Raincoat - Leonard Cohen

It's four in the morning, the end of DecemberI'm writing you now just to see if you're betterNew York is cold, but I like where I'm livingThere's music on Clinton street all through the evening.I hear that you're building your little house deep in the

desertYou're living for nothing now,

I hope you're keeping some kind of record.Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clearDid you ever go clear? Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much

olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --She sends her regards.

And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyesI thought it was there for good so I never tried.And Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clear-- sincerely, L. Cohen


Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

Famous Blue Raincoat

Mini Task 1

Briefly write down what happens in the poem and what you think the poem’s meaning or message is.

How would you describe the tone of the poem?


Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

Famous Blue Raincoat

  • Mini Task 1

  • Briefly write down what happens in the poem and what you think the poem’s meaning/message is.

    • Famous Blue Raincoat is written in the form of a letter from "L. Cohen" to his ‘brother’ who once betrayed him by having an affair with his wife, "Jane.“

    • In the letter he offers forgiveness and shows concern for his brother’s wellbeing as well as acknowledging the effect that the affair has had on Jane.

    • It is an enigmatic poem full of anger as well as forgiveness that asks as many questions as it answers.

  • How would you describe the tone of the poem?

    • The tone is sad and melancholy, but with a hint of anger, especially in Stanza 5 where the brother is described as a ‘killer’.


  • Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 2

    • Look at the stanza below:

    • What elements in this stanza help create strong sense of place & time?

    • Write down something you notice about each line in this stanza.

      • It's four in the morning, the end of DecemberI'm writing you now just to see if you're betterNew York is cold, but I like where I'm livingThere's music on Clinton street all through the evening.I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desertYou're living for nothing now,

      • I hope you're keeping some kind of record.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 2

    • How is the poem structured and organised? You need to mention:

      • Stanza length

      • Line Length

      • Rhyme Scheme


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 2

    • How is the poem structured and organised?

      • 6 Stanzas with uneven numbers of lines: 7, 4, 6, 4, 6, 6.

      • Most lines are between 11-13 syllables long but some are as short as 7-8 syllables.

      • The rhyme scheme is complex and irregular but mostly uses rhyming couplets.

    Stanza 1

    Decemberbetter

    livingevening.

    Last 3 lines

    don’t rhyme

    Stanza 2

    hair

    her

    clear

    clear

    Stanza 3

    older

    shoulder

    train

    Marlene

    life

    wife

    Stanza 4

    teeth

    thief

    Last 2 lines

    don’t rhyme

    Stanza 5

    killer

    say

    you

    way

    me

    free

    Stanza 6

    eyes

    tried

    hair

    her

    clear

    Cohen

    Chime


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 3

    • What elements in the opening stanza help create strong sense of place & time?

      • It'sfour in the morning, theend of DecemberI'm writing you now just to see if you're betterNew York iscold,but I like where I'm livingThere's music on Clinton street all through the evening.I hear that you're building your little house deepin the desertYou're living for nothing now,

      • I hope you're keeping some kind of record.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 4

    Write down something you notice about each line in this stanza.

    It'sfourin the morning, the end of December

    I'm writing you now just to see if you're better

    New York is cold, but I like where I'm living

    There'smusic on Clinton street all through the

    evening.

    • an odd time to be writing a letter

    • better from what? Mental or

    • physical illness?

    • as opposed to where he lived

    • before, perhaps with Jane?

    • a very lively place to live, not

    • isolates or alone like his brother.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 4

    Write down something you notice about each line in this stanzacont.

    I hear that you're building your little house deep

    in the desert

    You'reliving for nothing now,

    I hope you're keeping some kind ofrecord.

    Has the return of Jane into his life prompted the writer to now write this letter of forgiveness.? The time is also significant here. Ask yourself why ‘four in the morning’ (and remember we are later told that he sees ‘Jane’s awake.’)

    • away from everyone…isolated

    • nothing left to live for?

    • or life passes without any

    • meaning.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 5

    • What is the significance of:

      • “Jane came by” & the lock of hair

      • The fact his brother “gave it to her”

      • He was going “clear”

      • And the final question?

      • Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clearDid you ever go clear?


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 5

    • What is the significance of:

      • “Jane came by” & the lock of hair The fact that Jane ‘came by’ implies she no longer lives with the writer, but would still seem to be on good terms with him (she has stayed the night after all!)

      • That his brother “gave it to her” A lock of hair is a parting gift, a keepsake or reminder. Had his brother finished the relationship with Jane?

      • Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to her


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 5

    • What is the significance of:

      • He was going “clear” Clearing off, clearing out, getting clear away….leaving Jane?

      • And the final question?

      • He might have left her physically, but has he got clear of the emotional entanglement this affair has caused?

    • That night that you planned to go clearDid you ever go clear?


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    • Look at Stanza 2 and answer the questions.

      • What are the key words in Line 1....why?

      • b) Why is the torn raincoat significant?

      • Why might Lilli Marlene be important?

      • What is the key word in the fifth line....why is it significant?

      • What is the important detail we learn from the last line?

      • Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    • What are the key words in Line 1....why?

      • Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    • ‘last time’ – conveys it has been a while since he has seen his brother.

    • ‘looked so much older’ - Perhaps because of illness (he’s writing to see if his brother is ‘better’), or maybe the stress of the betrayal in this love triangle is causing him to age prematurely?


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    • b) Why is the torn raincoat significant?

      • Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    • It is the title line of the poem, so our attention has to be drawn to it.

    • The fact that is ‘famous’ would imply that the ‘brother’ is renowned for wearing it, almost as if it is his trademark garment. Yet if he has allowed it to get ‘torn’ does that mean he has stopped caring about his appearance? This may indicate depression, perhaps caused by the turmoil of his betrayal?


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    c) Why might Lilli Marlene be important?

    Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    Lilli Marlene is the title character from a famous WW2 song. ‘Lilli ‘ is so famous as she is faithful and patient and prepared to wait for her soldier boyfriend to return from the front.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    Underneath the lanternBy the barrack gate,Darling I rememberThe way you used to wait.T'was there that you

    whispered tenderlyThat you loved me;You'd always beMy Lili of the lamplight,My own Lili Marlene.

    c) Why might Lilli Marlene be important?

    Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    Lilli Marlene is the title character from a famous WW2 song. ‘Lilli ‘ is so famous as she is faithful and patient and prepared to wait for her soldier boyfriend to return from the front.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    c) Why might Lilli Marlene be important?

    Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    Lilli Marlene is the title character from a famous WW2 song. ‘Lilli ‘ is so famous as she is faithful and patient and prepared to wait for her soldier boyfriend to return from the front. Metaphorically it may be that Lilli is Jane or a new lover and her failure to be on the train he went to meet (and any other train that day) was her way of finishing the relationship? So the reference is alluding to faithfulness or betrayal as the ‘faithful’ lover did not turn up.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    • d) What is the key word in the fifth line....why s it significant?

      • Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    • Flake:

    • Why a ‘flake’? Why not a slice, a piece or a chunk? A flake is easily discarded ; a chunk or a piece has greater substance and a slice implies a precise portion. A flake then is an unimportant and tiny part of something.

    • So how much of his life/time had the ‘brother’ devoted to Jane? Not very much. Yet it is enough to damage his relationship with his brother.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 6

    • e) What is the important detail we learn from the last line?

      • Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much olderYour famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulderYou'd been to the station to meet every trainAnd you came home without Lilli MarleneAnd you treated my woman to a flake of your lifeAnd when she came back she was nobody's wife.

    • When Jane returns from the ‘brother’ she had a broken relationship with both men as she was ‘nobody’s wife’, discarded by the ‘brother’ and unfaithful to the writer.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 7

    • Look at Stanza 3 and answer the questions.

    • Why a rose in his teeth?

    • Why a ‘gypsy thief’?

    • What does Jane being awake tell us?

    • What is important about Jane sending her regards?

      • Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --She sends her regards.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 7

    • a) Why a rose in his teeth?

      • Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --She sends her regards.

    • Ironically or mockingly romantic….but

    • sometimes what Starts as a joke can have

    • serious consequences.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 7

    • b) Why a ‘gypsy thief’

      • Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --She sends her regards.

    • Gypsies don’t live anywhere permanent so do not have the same responsibilities and do not follow the same rules as the rest of society. In this sense they are free to do whatever they want. In the poem then, metaphorically, the ‘gypsy’ brother has stolen this woman and run away with her, messing up all their lives by stealing Jane’s heart and not caring for the consequences.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 7

    • b) Why a ‘gypsy thief’

      • Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --She sends her regards.

    • The desire to run away from all you troubles and be free like Gypsies is a very old phenomenon as the lyrics of

    • this traditional English folk song show.

    From Raggle taggle gypsy-o

    "How could you leave your house and your land? how could you leave your money-o? How could you leave your only wedded Lord all for a raggle taggle gypsy-o?" "What care I for my house and my land? what care I for my money-o? I'd rather have a kiss from the yellow gypsy's lips I'm away wi' the raggle taggle gypsy-o!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdyE8_7puPQ


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 7

    • c) What does Jane being awake tell us?

      • Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --She sends her regards.

    • If she has woken up it means she has been asleep, ie. spent the night there with the writer. This would imply that they have made some attempt to repair their relationship and this is perhaps why the writer now feels compelled to write this letter of forgiveness.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 7

    • d) What is important about Jane sending her regards?

      • Well I see you there with the rose in your teethOne more thin gypsy thiefWell I see Jane’s awake --Shesends her regards.

    • She too has forgiven the ‘brother’ her illicit lover. If she felt any bitterness towards him would she be sending her regards? Note she does not send her ‘love’ and at the end of the poem, the poet also only sends his ‘regards.’


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • Look at Stanza 4 and answer the questions.

    • What is the key word in line 1….why?

    • What does line 2 tell you?

    • What is important about the repetition in line 3?

    • What is the change signified by his assertion he is ‘glad’ in line 4?

    • What is the key word in the last line?

    • What do the last two lines mean?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • What is the key word in line 1….why?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

    • Killer –

    • As a metaphor, this strongly conveys the sense of how badly hurt the writer has been by his brother’s betrayal….so what has he killed? Two relationships, trust, hopes for the future….etc.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • What does line 2 tell you?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

    • He is trying to come to terms with is own feelings for his brother and find the words of forgiveness he feels he can now use. There is a sense in this line that he is still bitter and angry, but that he is trying to overcome these feelings. I am sure that if he was still angry he would know exactly what to say to the brother that betrayed him!


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • What is important about the repetition in line 3?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

    • Guess – shows he is not sure how he feels. The repetition emphasises the uncertainty that he feels and the ambiguity of his emotions.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • What is the change signified by his assertion he is ‘glad’ in line 4?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

    • This line is more positive than the previous line. He is no longer ‘guessing’ but ‘glad. This is also where the writer begins to acknowledge that perhaps his brother’s relationship with Jane was good for her in some ways. He later goes on to thank his brother for the ‘trouble’ he ‘took from her eyes.’


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • What is the key word in the last line?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

    • Enemy.

    • Because up until the return of Jane that’s what his brother has been to him, but now those feelings of enmity are ‘sleeping’.......but they have not gone away altogether as a sleeping enemy can always be re-awoken!


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 8

    • What do the last two lines mean?

      • And what can I tell you my brother, my killerWhat can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive youI'm glad you stood in my way.If you ever come by here, for Jane or for meYour enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

    • Not quite an open invitation, but at least the brother will be welcomed if he does come to call. However his former ‘enemy’ is only sleeping so not all is forgiven. There is also in these lines the suggestion perhaps that Jane is ‘free’ of the anger and hurt her affair has caused.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 9

    • Look at Stanza 6 and answer the questions.

    • How has the tone changed in the first line?

    • What is important about line 2?

    • What do you notice about the last line? What does it signify?

      • Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyesI thought it was there for good so I never tried.And Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clear-- sincerely, L. Cohen


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 9

    • How has the tone changed in the first line?

      • Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyesI thought it was there for good so I never tried.And Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clear-- sincerely, L. Cohen

    • The writer is now offering thanks, so the previous sense of anger has gone, or at least is being suppressed.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 9

    • What is important about line 2?

      • Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyesI thought it was there for good so I never tried.And Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clear-- sincerely, L. Cohen

    • Whatever had been wrong with Jane, or wrong with their relationship he had given up trying to fix. However his ‘gypsy’ brother had seen the problem and stolen away with his wife, relieving her of her ‘trouble’. So even though this affair has been damaging it has help Jane heal.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Mini Task 9

    • What do you notice about the last line? What does it signify?

      • Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyesI thought it was there for good so I never tried.And Jane came by with a lock of your hairShe said that you gave it to herThat night that you planned to go clear-- sincerely, L. Cohen

    • It is formal, not how you would expect a letter to a brother to end. You might think he would sign off Leonard or Len, the fact he signs L Cohen shows there are still some bridges to be built in this relationship. However he is ‘sincere’ about all that he has said.


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Leonard Cohen

    Leonard Norman Cohen, (born 21 September 1934) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality, and interpersonal relationships. Cohen has been inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and

    the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. While giving the speech at Cohen's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 March 2008, Lou Reed described Cohen as belonging to the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters."

    The critic Bruce Eder wrote an assessment of Cohen's overall career in popular music, writing, “Cohen is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic singer/songwriters of the late '60s and has retained an audience across four decades of music-making. Second only to Bob Dylan and perhaps Paul Simon as a musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century."

    The Academy of American Poets has commented more broadly on Cohen's overall career in the arts, including his work as a poet, novelist, and songwriter, stating that "Cohen's successful blending of poetry, fiction and music enables his fans to embrace him as a Renaissance man who straddles the elusive artistic borderlines.“

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen


    Famous blue raincoat by leonard cohen

    Famous Blue Raincoat

    Assignment

    Describe a time, real or imagined, when you betrayed or were betrayed by someone close to you. How did you react and how did you resolve the conflict.

    400 -600 Words by Thur 26th September

    MLA Format e-mailed to:

    [email protected]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2NHp3wLQYo

    ToriAmos - Albany 10-09-07 = 15-Famous Blue Raincoat


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