In Setting Up the Drums, a poem written by Don McKay, the concept of taking advantage of tragic circumstances in one’s life is greatly emphasized. Don McKay wrote, “All this hardware to recall the mess you left back home and bring it to music and get back to the heart”. From this quotation, it can be acknowledged that McKay is trying to emphasize the fact that people can use their passions, be it drums or other forms of endeavours, as coping mechanisms to bring forth reflection on the issues that are taking place in one’s life, regardless of who the individual is as a person. With the statement, “How music will make itself walk into the terrible stunned air behind the shed where all the objects looked away”, the idea of music, or any activity, can allow for people to bring forth the darker times in their past to review and evaluate how they can make the future more prosperous. Ultimately, such techniques revolving around a person’s favourite passion or pastime can be a defining factor in providing them with the strength, as well as the willpower to press forward toward a future filled with redeemed honour and a refined focus on situational certainty.
The portion of the story Redemption by John Gardner portrays the character Jack Hawthorne as he is engulfed by the guilt of a farm accident, which resulted in the death of his brother. As a result of this,
Though I have not experienced something as drastic as either one of the novels, music has still contributed to helping me maintain an overall focus on my beliefs and objectives. Throughout my lifetime, more directly through my years of high school, the pressures of friends and homework and trying to find a setting in which I feel comfortable has stretched across my mind for as long as I can remember. From having an anxiety disorder years ago and still experiencing minor effects of it to present day, I have always managed to be an easy target for stress, despite my reluctance to display it. However, even with every situation surrounding me, I have always found that music played a key component in bringing focus to my goals, as well as composure to my thoughts. Whenever something has the tendency to cause frustration, I simply turn on some music or start to play my guitar, and I temporarily leave behind all troubles and obstacles that I may be facing. With this, I can return to the situations later on feeling revitalized, ready to take on the task at hand with a clear perspective on my own sense of honour, as well as a firm grasp on the certainties of the environments around me. As a result of the positive benefits of music that I have experienced, I can firmly support the concept of music being extremely cooperative in helping anybody restore honour and certainty in their own lives as well.
Whether we choose to actually take initiative to follow through with the methods we come up with to overcome our misfortunes, or if we choose to let them ruin our lives, the final choice is ours alone. However, it can be said that music, or passions in general, will be there to catch us when we fall, and dust us off if we choose to get back up. In Setting Up the Drums, music is used to retrace the steps of the past and to assist the portrayed individual in trying to embrace the possibility of a future void of the calamities of the past. With Redemption, we see the potential of a man, driven by his musical passions, desperate to regain the life he once had, and ultimately, regain his own honour and perspective as an individual. In both pieces of literature, the characters portrayed have lost their focus on life, as well as their honour; a piece of their very essences. Through the drums and the French horn, both stories depict a hope for the future, and in conclusion, revitalization to each individual’s fundamental nature. When life chooses to knock us down, we can choose to fight back, struggling desperately to reverse the setbacks we experience throughout our everyday lives, knowing that the power of song will help us through the journey, so long as we let it.