|When put together, this song tells a story of working women. In this context, the women seem to lose hope because of a forced job. This seems strange, because here in America, women have fought a long time for equal opportunities at jobs. But since the setting for this situation is different, it may not be as unusual as previously thought. *This song is loosely based on the traditional “waulking songs” sung by women and used when fulling cloth. Waulking songs are unique to the Outer Hebrides. The Hebrides, or Western Isles, of Scotland were known as the Hebudæ or the Ebudæ in ancient times.|
Special Note: This song was used in the movie Toys starring Robin Williams.
|The term ‘look’ in this context can be seen as a word of surprise. This first line of the song talks about the unusually long working hours these women had to face. Day starts at sunrise, so that means that the women started work early in the morning and way past dusk; they work late into the night. Usually, one doesn’t have the desire to work for such long hours, but in this case, it seems the women are bound to their jobs by either an outside force or their inner minds.|
|Upon looking at the notes, this song is based on "waulking songs." When this line talks about the women singing, it can be translated as the women singing a "waulking song." This further supports the fact that these women are indeed working (waulking songs were sung when fulling cloth). Furthermore, we are hinted at the loss of a happier life due to this job. Notice how the ‘bright days’ in this song are referred to in the past. The bright days symbolize youth and life because childhood is the brightest time of any lifetime. Since it has already happened, the women are no longer living in a joyful period of their life, and that is due to the role in society they must fulfill.|
|This line talks about the ‘bright days’ in the women’s lives. ‘A long way back’ means that the ‘bright days’ are in the past (the childhood) and cannot be retrieved again, and ‘forth forever’ refers to the future. Since the term, ‘a long way’ carries over to ‘forth forever,’ we know that the women’s lives will remain in the same situation for a long time to come. The bright days in the future can refer to several things: retirement, perhaps marriage and support from a husband to some, and maybe even death (when they are free to go to heaven). Either way, when the women finally reach these ‘bright days,’ they will be relieved from their current occupation.|
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