Analysis on Ralph Ellison’s “On Bird, Bird-Watching, and Jazz” Ellison’s purpose in this essay is to prove that “Parker was a most inventive melodist-a true songster” which is evident in paragraph one. He uses the fascination of nicknames to symbolize the achievements of the “Bird” and also the impact the nickname had on others. I like how he adds in a joke near the end of paragraph two, “why, during when most jazzmen were labeled “cats”, someone hung the bird on Charlie.” pretty much showing that even though most jazzmen were called “cats” at the time, Charles earned the name of “Bird” because that he was above other jazzmen, like how a bird would hang high above a cat so that the cat wouldn’t reach the bird. Charles’s talent was so much above all other “cats”; they couldn’t even reach his type of level.
He uses a short apocryphal story of baby Jesus being given a clay goldfinch for a toy and bringing it to life as a metaphor to indicate that Bird brings jazz music to life. Majority of what paragraph three Ellison is going through the species of the goldfinch and how it is characterized in it, then at the end he hits the reader with a problem of why it doesn’t relate to Bird; it’s pretty much like the canary. Paragraph four goes on to explain the similarities of the mockingbird has that connects it to Bird himself.
The structure of the sentence in paragraph four pretty much mimics that of a saxophone holding a long, drawn out note. The sentences are long and drawn out, which makes reading longer and take a breath between each sentence. He’s connecting this sound of a saxophone to the sentence structures of the paragraph. The last paragraph also sums up his main idea that Bird had a complex life, but it didn’t minimize his greatness in it.