The Song’s Message of Influence

In society today, “influence” is a major factor whether it’s what’s in style, religion, politics, beliefs or any other thing that two people might disagree on. When one person believes one thing and the next believes opposite, almost instinctively that person will attempt to influence the other that his belief on the situation is right.

I call this instinct because in most cases when someone is told something that may seem different to them, or is a different way of doing something than what they know of, they instantly react, whether they retort to what that person is saying or whether they are polite and keep it to themselves, one way or another if someone tells a man something different than what he believe, he is going to have an immediate or “instinctual” reaction.

For example In the song “Flowers are Red” by Harry Chapin, a little boy came into class and the first thing he did was start to draw flowers, when the teacher sees what the little boy is doing she has the immediate instinct to correct what the boy is doing, trying to convert what his idea of a flower is to hers. Throughout the song the teacher repeated the line, “Flowers are red young man, / Green leaves are green, / There’s no need to see flowers any other way, / Than the way they always have been seen.

This line shows that the teacher is very set in her ways, and that she does not like people being creative, things must be portrayed the way they are in reality, “The way they always have been seen. ” Though after every time the teacher repeated that line, the boy would retort with, “There are so many colors in the rainbow, / So many colors in the morning sun, / So many colors in the flower and I see every one. ” The boy refuses to believe that flowers must be red and green. The boy sees flowers as bright and colourful and that’s the way he should draw them.

After the back and forth argument the teacher gets fed up and decides punishment will help this boy understand that flowers must be red and green. The line “The teacher put him in a corner, / She said.. It’s for your own good.. / And you won’t come out til you get it right, / And all responding like you should. ” (Chapin : 35-37) This shows that the teacher is determined to influence this little boy to draw flowers as she thinks they are supposed to be drawn and that she will go to great lengths just to make this boy draw flowers red and green.

The line, Well finally he got lonely, / Frightened thoughts filled his head, / And he went up to the teacher, / And this is what he said.. and he said, / Flowers are red, green leaves are green,/ There’s no need to see flowers any other way, / Than the way they always have been seen. ” Shows that the teacher’s forceful influence finally persuaded him that flowers are red and green. The boy was scared into believing that flowers are red and green, he probably still doesn’t agree with the teacher, but he is sure scared of her for putting him in the corner.

The teacher didn’t really explain to him why, flowers are only red and green. There for the little boy had no valid reason to believe her. Chapin’s song sends out a strong message about influence. That being, that if someone doesn’t believe the same thing as you, they will try their hardest to persuade you to believe that their opinion is valid and that you are wrong, no matter what. Some people may have grown up believing one thing, they may not fully know why they believe it, just that they always have and that they are comfortable with their belief.

So when another person speaks their opinion that contradicts others, they become confused as to why that person doesn’t believe the same as him, there for they become defensive and retort to the others that they are right. Influence can be a powerful and confusing thing in society today, especially with today’s youth, people need to remember that if they are going to act upon defending their beliefs they need to back it up with facts and examples of why they are right, not just scaring people into believing what they think.