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The Time Has Come for Eleanor Rigby to Wear a Toga

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The Time Has Come for Eleanor Rigby to Wear a Toga E. Katherine Underwood Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been. Lives in dream, Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Who is it for? All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people, Where do they all belong? The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby was the anthem of the 1960s; it was the ballad of loneliness, of alienation. Its poetic words echo a raw nakedness of the mind. These words tell the story of a sleepless, wide-eyed, exhausted, and socially rejected generation. Jack Kerouac and other hip thinkers and writers who emerged in the 1940s took hold of these feelings of alienation and crafted them into a philosophy and culture called the Beat Generation. Some critics may claim that the ballad of the Beat Generation died with the fall of the Cold War and with the end of anti-Communism hysteria, but I contend otherwise. I hold that another generation is also in a quest to define its meaning. I believe that another generation is as William Burroughs writes in Naked Lunch in search of some secret, some key to gain access to basic knowledge. But, I believe that this other generation is held back from this knowledge by the chains of apathy. ...read more.


We are weak, slack, and ignorant of war. We are rampant individuals without a common cause and without a collective purpose. We are dissatisfied with our democracy and yet feel powerless to change it. However, I know we hold the spark to change society and save ourselves. But, unlike Prometheus, we begin first chained to a rock and must find the tools to break away and capture Zeus' fire. Our generation begs reconstruction. I believe three things must happen for us to experience manifest destiny. First of all, we need a great leader. Secondly, we need to form a student movement and forge a collective identity via participatory democracy. And finally, we must fully utilize the university experience both academically and socially to prepare us for the future. First, to accelerate forward, our generation requires a great leader. I agree with Carlyle's theory that history is made by great men making hard decisions. Great leaders are summoned by the events of the time and called upon to do extraordinary things. We as a generation have not experienced such an event and therefore have not seen such a leader. The Election 2000 debacle was arguably not enough to give us any velocity. The dissatisfaction with the two candidates and the prolonged haggling that followed only made us feel more alienated. ...read more.


We must conference with each other, argue with each other, write a mission statement, and confront our lethargy. Some of you may be skeptical if not offended by my declaration of our generation's relentless apathy. This audience is an ambitious and educated body and you all may very well be exceptions to my hypothesis, but I ask of you: search your souls. Do you feel it? I swear to you that I am one of the most motivated nineteen year olds that you will ever meet, but I can feel it. It is a raw, naked feeling that starts in the hollow of my stomach and grows like a weed encompassing my entire psyche. At times my apathy beats me down to a hole in the ground and covers me up with the dirt of anguish. Can you feel it? Members of my generation, we are Eleanor Rigby, but the time has arrived for us to come together - right now. The time has arrived for us to become ambassadors to our own inner-peace. The time has come to battle our apathy, and like gladiators, tear down the tyrannical power elite. And, fittingly, when we become citizens of stature and influence, it will be appropriate for us to dress in the garment that connotes our mission-the Roman garment worn by citizens in time of peace, the toga. Indeed, my brothers and sisters, the time has come for Eleanor Rigby to wear a toga. 1 ...read more.

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