Quadrophenia Research Paper

Topics: The Who, Pete Townshend, Quadrophenia Pages: 5 (1724 words) Published: February 2, 2012
Michelle Kahn
Mr. McCrary
AP Industrial World
Term Paper

The personalities of the Members of The Who as Represented by the Protagonist of Quadrophenia Quadrophenia is the sixth studio album by the English rock band The Who. The story involves social, musical, and psychological happenings from an English teenage perspective, set in London and Brighton in 1964 and 1965. The name, Quadrophenia, is a variation on the incorrect popular usage of the medical diagnostic term schizophrenia as dissociative identity disorder to reflect the four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the opera’s protagonist (“Quadrophenia.” Reference.com). The four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the main character of the album, each represent the personalities of the members of The Who.

The protagonist of Quadrophenia, Jimmy, is a young Mod in the throes of self- doubt and alienation. He is a “working- class kid, disillusioned with a life of dead- end jobs, unsympathetic parents, and a psychiatrist who doesn’t understand him” (Neill 225). Jimmy also suffers from “quadrophenia” which was meant to be a spin-off of the personality disorder, schizophrenia. He is a schizophrenic who takes pills, a popular aspect of the Mod lifestyle, and his schizophrenia divides up causing him to become quadrophenic (“Quadrophenia- The Album”). The listener is immediately introduced to the four different personalities of Jimmy at the beginning of the album. In “I am the Sea/The Real Me” the listener can clearly hear how Jimmy is torn between the four different aspects of his personality, “Helpless Dancer// Is it me?// Bell Boy.// Love Reign O’er Me.” (“Quadrophenia- Lyrics”); he is struggling to figure out who the “real” him is.

The first member of The Who, Roger Daltrey, was born at Hammersmith Hospital in West London on March 1, 1944 during a heavy World War II bombing raid. Both of his parents were staunchly working class; his father was an insurance clerk while his mother was a sickness beneficiary due to losing a kidney and contracting polio prior to Roger’s birth. When his father was drafted into the war, Roger and his mother were sent to live on a farm in Scotland. The family was eventually reunited once the war ended. In 1957, the Daltreys moved to Bedford Park, part of the more affluent suburb of neighboring Acton, and Roger attended Acton County Grammar School (Neill 8). “You know, I was a school rebel. Whatever they said do, I didn’t do. I was totally anti- everything. I was a right bastard, a right hard nut. I just totally closed the doors to ever wanting to know what they had to teach me. Rock and Roll was the only thing I wanted to get into” (Barling “Roger Daltrey”).

In Quadrophenia, Daltrey is represented by the “tough guy” aspect of Jimmy’s personality. Daltrey was combative and had a reputation for getting into fights. He was also known for his belligerence on stage. Daltrey’s theme in Quadrophenia was “a tough guy, a helpless dancer” (Barling “Roger Daltrey”). In the song “Helpless Dancer”, which was meant to represent Roger’s personality, the listener gets “a real look at where [Jimmy’s] aggression comes from. Jimmy has a conscience that bites fairly deeply. His frustration with the world only makes him more angry, even bitter” (“Quadrophenia- The Album”).

The second member of The Who, Keith Moon, was born at Central Middlesex County Hospital in North West London on August 23, 1946. He was raised in Wembley by his father, who was a motorcycle mechanic, and his mother, who was a part-time housekeeper. While attending Barham Primary School, he was extremely outgoing; he was a hyperactive boy with a restless imagination. In 1957 he attended Alperton Secondary School after failing the 11-plus. Keith was uninterested in school, however, and preferred to play tricks on his teachers, which gained him admiration from his classmates (Neill 11).

The aspect of Jimmy’s personality in Quadrophenia that was meant to represent Keith was “a bloody...
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