In the first two lines, "I come from down in the valley. Where, mister, when you're young they bring you up to do like your daddy done", I think the speaker is hinting that where he is from, they bring you up to follow in your father's footsteps. Also, the speaker's father had the same kinds of stuff happen to him. The speaker then tells how he met a girl named Mary in high school, and that she was seventeen years old. The speaker tells how their relationship was altered by the fact that he got Mary pregnant. In the second verse, the speaker says "And for my 19th birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat. We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest. No wedding smiles, no walk down the aisle. No flowers, no wedding dress. I think that the speaker is saying that he was forced to go out in the world and find a job, and marry Mary because he got her pregnant.
In the lines, "I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company. But lately there ain't much work on account of the economy." I think that the speaker is telling how he has become unemployed. I also think the speaker and Mary broke up or got divorced. This is explained in the lines, "Now all them things that seemed so important, well mister they vanished right into thin air. Now I just act like I don't remember. Mary acts like she don't care." All the hopes and dreams of the speaker and Mary have been shot down.
I think in the end, the speaker contemplates suicide in the lines, "Now those memories come back to haunt me. They haunt me like a curse." The significance of the "river" are the speaker's hopes, dreams, and life. I think the speaker has given up on life in the lines, "that sends me down to the river, though I know that the river is dry..."
I think that this is a well written song. Bruce Springsteen put alot of
thought and heart into this song. It makes you wonder how a good person
can screw up so bad.
The song I'm interpreting is "The River" by Bruce Springsteen. This song is ths story of a man who jumped into a relationship and ended up ruining his life and dreams because of their mistakes.
In the first verse, he talks about where he came from,his background and says "they bring you up to do like your daddy done." I think this means that his father is successful and expects him to also be successful and follow the pattern of success. He says that he comes from a valley. To me this means that he had a good life up to this point where he meets Mary. After that I think he abandons the lifestyle and set of rules he has followed so thus far. The line "we'd go down to the river and into the river we'd dive, oh down to the river we'd drive." These lines have two meanings to me; first I think the river is the place where he got her pregnant and second it symbolizes them diving into their relationship too quickly. They went too far, too fast. So those lines about the river have a literal and figurative meaning.
He says "that was all she wrote" after Mary got pregnant meaning that this has ended all their dreams and plans for the future. He no longer can "do like his daddy has done." When he turned 19 he was forced to marry her and get a job. Obviously no one was happy with their marriage, it was just the acceptable thing to do. The lines "And the judge put it all to rest. No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle. No flowers, no wedding dress." These lyrics support this and show that it was just a quick, official ceremony because they were not in love and their parents don't approve of what has happened.
Later he says that all the things that seemed important once have vanished. Their dreams and plans for the future seem unimportant now that they are just concerned with making ends meet. When he says "I just act like I don't remember" and "Mary acts like she don't care", he is explaining that this is not really the way either of them wanted their lives to work out. He also says how memories of the past and the way their relationship went wrong constanly haunt him. He goes on to say that "the river is dry" meaning that their is nothing left of their relationship and no future to their lives. When he says "send me down to the river tonight" and "my baby and I, oh down to the river we ride" in the end, he wants their relationship to return to how it used to be. He misses what they once had and wants to somehow regain it.
I think that they will be able to save their marriage and regain a little of what they had but I don't think they can ever make up for that one big mistake. Things will never be what they could have been. I do feel they made the right decision in getting married. There are two parents for the child and hopefully things will work out so they have a loving relationship.