In the first verse the song talks about a girl who is considered to be ugly. Jewel questions the motives and reasons for hating her. "She's an ugly girl, she doesn't pose a threat. She's an ugly girl, does that make you feel safe? " There is this ugly girl and because she is ugly others feel better about themselves because they feel they are superior. The question of whether people don't like her because she is ugly cannot be answered with a simple "yes". This is because she really isn't hated for being ugly, but she is hated because people are so insecure about themselves. "Ugly girl, ugly girl. Do you hate her 'cause she's pieces of you?" When they see this girl that they consider to be ugly all they can think about is what if I looked like that, what if maybe she is a part of me, what if maybe in reality deep down I am just like her? So they push her away and make themselves think that she doesn't exist to protect themselves. In the world today people are taught to protect themselves in many ways and I believe that this reaction is a subconscious thing that they do without realizing it. When Jewel states "She’s an ugly girl, does it make you want to kill her?" she doesn't mean literally kill her but to make the girl extinct from your mind and maybe even to kill her chance of having any say in society.
In the second verse the song brings up the hatred of a pretty girl. "She's a pretty girl, does she make you think nasty thoughts?" This situation deals with a whole different issue. Instead of people hating her because she is ugly they hate her because of the opposite. She is pretty. That is the reason for their hatred. When they see this pretty girl all they can do is doubt themselves. This pretty girl makes them feel insecure about themselves because they don't feel they add up. "She's a pretty girl, do you call her a bitch? She's a pretty girl, did she sleep with your whole town?" They see a pretty girl so they try to make her have faults such as being a snot and rude or they make her out to be the town slut. This makes them feel better because they don't want to think that she is perfect. "Pretty girl, pretty girl. Do you hate her 'cause she's pieces of you?" They hate her because they think that inside they could be as pretty as her but yet they know they aren't.
In the third verse of the song the issue of homosexuality is brought up. "You say he's a faggot, are you afraid you're just the same?" The hatred of homosexuals is a very big thing in our country because people are very ignorant and unknowing. They have yet to accept "different" people because they need to feel superior. There is also the underlying feeling of what if I am the same as they, what if I too am attracted to the same sex, I am normal and can't be any different. "Faggot, faggot. Do you hate him 'cause he's pieces of you?" For them it is easier to hate than to wonder.
verse deals with prejudice of a certain religion and follower. In
this verse a Jewish man is judged from afar because of the stereotypes
made about Jews. "You say he's a Jew, does it mean that he's tight?"
People in the world today judge people because they don't know. Instead
of feeling insecure because of being ignorant the believe stereotypes and
don't give the people being stereotyped a chance. "You say he's a
Jew, as though being born were a sin." People lash out at others
for being different because they want to feel superior. By making
others feel insecure they make themselves feel better.
The song Pieces of You by Jewel deals with many different issues of prejudice and hate. People find it easier to judge and set things aside than to learn and grow from things. They are afraid of what lies within themselves. When people see someone who is different, which includes ugliness, being too pretty, homosexuality, and different beliefs, they automatically judge them so that they can feel better about themselves. There is a lot less emotional stress and questioning of yourself when you let yourself think that you are superior because then it is easier to feel above all others and you don't have to feel you are like them. I feel that this song is a great example of the fact that people hide behind their ignorance and emotions and close their minds off from learning. I feel that it is a pity when people do this because they may have just shrugged off the one person who would have stuck by them through thick and thin or the person who would have saved their life. I believe that the only thing people are saving themselves from when they don't give others a chance is the chance of learning, growing, and understanding diversity. We can only hope that with the new millennium will come a new understanding and love for each other that can only be brought about with acknowledgment and acceptance of each other.
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