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"the Lizard King", Jim Morrison

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Stephen Devine

Eng 102 D

Fall, 06

The Lizard King:

Jim Morrison

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors.”

Jim Morrison was an American poet who played a major role in the revolution of rock music in the U.S. throughout the late sixties and part of the seventies. His music has influenced millions and changed the way that people looked at rock as a whole. His poetry, often written under the influence of mind-altering substances captured the minds of his listeners allowing his vivid imagery to be displayed in every piece of music he wrote.

Born in Melborne, Florida in 1943 as the son of Stephen and Clara Morrison, Jim, along with his two younger siblings, lived under the harsh command of his parents and was often subject to his father’s military-style discipline know as “dressing down”. “This consisted of yelling and berating Jim and his siblings until they were reduced to tears and acknowledged their failings” (Jim Morrison, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Though this had a serious effect on his siblings, Morrison himself always seemed to be unfazed by it. This could possibly be the root of Morrison’s blatant disrespect for authority during his adolescent and short- lived adult years.

Upon entering high school, Morrison, like many teenagers at the time quickly familiarized himself with drugs and alcohol, with his grades suffering tremendously as a result. His once honorable grades had dwindled down to far below his potential, and when he actually attended class he was often loud and disruptive leaving the teacher with no other option but to exclude him from any lessons. By the end of is high school career Morrison was forced to move out of his parents house, and was sent to live with his grandmother in Clearwater, Florida. From this point on Morrison “embarked on a life long pattern of alcoholism and substance abuse” (Jim Morrison, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), which inevitably lead to his tragic death.

Though he was far from a good student in high school, Morrison managed to get himself into a junior college, and later into FSU and then to the film school at UCLA to finish his undergraduate degree. It was here that Morrison was first recognized for his artistic abilities when he came out with two short films; “First Love”, and “Obscura”. They instantly gained the attention of his professors and would become useful later on in his career when he directed music videos for his band. However, Morrison’s academic success was rather short-lived and in 1965 Morrison decided to leave UCLA and further pursue his other dreams-dreams that would eventually become reality.

After dropping out of UCLA’s film school in 1965, Morrison moved to Venice Beach where he followed his dreams and led a Bohemian lifestyle for a few years. He was a perfect example of a starving artist, often spending his nights sleeping on rooftops or on the beach, or sometimes, if he was lucky at a girlfriends house. He spent most of his days doing drugs and writing poems, and reading books. Something that many people may not be aware of is that Morrison was an avid reader with a large collection of books that traveled with him, wherever he chose to live. one of which caught the eye of one of his former classmates Ray Manzarek. He was so impressed with Morrison’s work that he decided to start up a band with him. It would be Morrison as the front man and Manzarek on the keyboard. Soon after, the two got together with drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger to form The Doors, which would later go on to become one of the most influential Rock n’ Roll bands of all time.

The Doors used many of Morrison’s original poems and turned them into Rock n’ Roll classics. Such songs like “People are Strange”, “Hello, I Love You”, and “Break on Through”, which were all original poems by Morrison, helped them climb to the top of the charts and become immortalized in the world of Rock. Morrison’s poems have a unique blend of sex, mysticism, drugs, murder, madness and death which entices listeners to closely examine his words to discover their actual meanings. For instance, in the song “Break on Through” Morrison writes:

“You know the day destroys the night

Night divides the day

Tried to run

Tried to hide

Break on through to the other side”( Doors).

Here Morrison is conveying his thoughts about being trapped in time. He explains how there is no escaping time, and no matter how hard you try, time is going to catch up to you. And when “it” decides that it’s your time to go…Then it’s your time to go. He is also saying that while you’re here on earth you should try to look past your reality and explore “the world of the unknown” via mind altering substances. He wants you to “break on through to the other side” and experience the side of life that isn’t visible under a normal state of mind. The term is Morrison’s way of letting people know that drugs aren’t as bad as they are perceived to be, and if you want to further your imagination, and learn to view life from a whole new perspective, drugs will be essential. Morrison even went as far as saying, “Drugs are a bet with your mind” (Jim Morrison, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), meaning that drugs help you look into the unknown parts of your brain and understand things that you normally wouldn’t be



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