ENG 125: Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Alex Vuilleumier
May 22, 2011
The Grace of Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace so sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see (cited in Clugston, 2010, section 9.3). Since John Newton wrote Amazing Grace in 1748, it is internationally known as a hymn of faith. This poem/hymn is recited and sung by numerous artists in various ways and is played on bagpipes at funerals for fallen police officers and firemen; and has been sung during many historical events, such as the many marches for Civil Rights led by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Another element is this poem, is the symbolism that is displayed throughout this poem/hymn. I will reflect on some of the elements of this song from Newton's standpoint and why Amazing Grace can illicit some of the emotions it does in my own personal experience.
Whether Amazing Grace is recited as a poem or sung as a hymn, one element that stands out is the diction. Clugston defines diction as "the use of words in written and oral expressions. They convey its ideas, feelings, tone, sounds, and rhythms" (2010). Not everyone's dictation is the same. It is basically what a person is feeling at the time that sets the tone for whatever is being recited or sung. If a person is feeling down and depressed, the song may be sung without much joy, or that person may use the words to lift his or her sorrowful spirits, as in any song. On the other hand, Amazing Grace may be sung with such exhilaration, that one cannot help by want to join. Clugston said, "the solemn intonations can swell and culminate in religious expressions" (2010). The person's interpretation of the song is another way the tone is conveyed to the listeners.