English 12 H
13 November 2012
The song “Strange Fruit” was first exposed as a poem written by Abel Meeropol who may be better recognized under his alias, Lewis Allan. “Strange Fruit” was finalized in the late 1930s, the same time that African- Americans in the South were being lynched by white supremacist groups in the days of America’s post- Abolition movement. Throughout the movement, the stress on seeing no evil and hearing no evil at this time was strongly enforced. Yet, Meeropol opened the eyes of his audience to the ugly truth about the horrors that African- Americans experienced through the Abolition. For Billy Holiday, one of dozens of artists to perform “Strange Fruit”, this song has a deeper meaning than what the surface offers. As an African-American, she suffered hardships through the Abolition that many could not imagine. Due to the treatment of blacks and Jim Crow laws, Holiday’s dad was denied medical entrance into a primarily white hospital, fell ill, and later died of internal bleeding. She was part of the Abolition and the Abolition was part of her. This can be verified as soon as she sings the first words of “Strange Fruit”. The tone of her voice supports her personal connection that she shares with the song and its overall meaning of the treatment of African-Americans during the Abolition.
“Strange Fruit” is formed by three short verses that all use ironic and understated language that forces the reader to dig deeper into history and discover what this “Strange Fruit” really is. This poem follows a lyric pattern, expressing deep thoughts and emotions about the lynching in the South. An elegiac pattern can also be extracted from this poem due to its commemoration to those strange fruit that died as a direct effect of lynching. A rhyme scheme of A,A, B, B, C,C, D, D, E, E, F, F is followed allowing the steady repetition of sounds to create a taunting beat. The melody is slow and conveys a melancholy...