Reflection by Christina Aguilera & Song Birds of Pain by Garry Kilworth

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Both “The Songbirds of Pain” by Garry Kilworth and “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera share the theme of “finding one’s self (identity)”. The main characters in both the story and song are expected to behave in ways that go against their true selves. In “The Songbirds of Pain,” a woman has her identity imposed on her, while in “Reflection,” a girl hides her true self to meet others’ expectations. I have found connections between specific verses in the song and the events experienced by Anita in “The Songbirds of Pain.”

The first four lines of the song “Reflection” in the novel Songbirds of Pain state, “Look at me, you may think you see who I really am, but you’ll never know me.” In this context, these lyrics are relevant to Anita’s character. Her identity has been manipulated by Philip in their relationship. He has shaped her into someone he wants to be with without truly understanding her true self. This is because when they met, Anita was young and had not yet discovered her authentic identity. Moreover, Philip chooses to perceive what he desires instead of accepting reality.

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Anita was satisfied with embracing Philip’s viewpoints and had no problem with the circumstance. However, she came to understand that Philip would eventually leave, leaving her solely with her physical attractiveness. Regrettably, as she gets older, her beauty will fade away, so she has chosen to have a surgical procedure to improve her looks and extend her allure. In the third verse, Anita declares, “Currently, I find myself in a realm where hiding my authentic emotions and beliefs is essential. Nonetheless, I will uncover a method to express what resides within my heart and be valued for my genuine self.”

Anita masks her true feelings and thoughts. I believe she desired an operation not only for beauty but to express her authentic self. She wonders how her life would have unfolded had she discovered herself before meeting Philip. She hopes this chance will reveal if Philip’s love would endure, or if things would remain unchanged. The sixth stanza states, “There’s a heart that must be free to fly that burns with a need to know the reason why”.

During her time in Algarez, Brazil, Anita experienced a newfound sense of freedom and independence. This was because she had finally made a decision for herself – something she had never done before. Despite having doubts about the operation, she took a courageous step forward. It seemed as if Anita believed it was vital for her overall well-being and also served as a way to test her ability to make choices that would bring her happiness and satisfaction. This sentiment is echoed in the final verse which questions the necessity of hiding our thoughts and emotions. It emphasizes the longing to authentically express ourselves rather than being compelled to conceal who we truly are.

I will not pretend to be someone else forever. When will my reflection reveal who I truly am on the inside? In the end, Anita discovered her true self and embraced her world, even though it brought her pain due to her surgeries. She secretly loved this world because she could be her authentic self without conforming to others’ expectations, particularly Philip’s. While she did not openly express her love for pain, I don’t think she was proud of it either. Nonetheless, she managed to hide it well enough to return to London.

At the airport, Philip eagerly awaited Anita’s arrival.

When Anita saw Philip, she realized how deeply she loved him and the immense anguish she would feel if she ever lost him. She has embraced pain and is willing to leave Philip in order to endure the pain it will bring. While her heart will ache, it is through this process that she will find her true self, forever. Immersed in her own world as Anita, she becomes the embodiment of the sun, moon, stars, Earth – void, matter, light. In this new reality, she becomes the central figure of her own universe. Initially naive, Anita’s character has undergone significant growth as a result of transformative experiences.

She managed to find herself despite the lengthy process. In the song “Reflection,” she justifies her desire to be seen and break free from the stagnant norms that confine her. The lesson here is to embrace one’s true self and not believe that it’s ever too late, as the saying goes, “better late than never.” It’s important to acknowledge that the journey will undoubtedly be challenging, as valuable pursuits often are. Patience is key.

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Reflection by Christina Aguilera & Song Birds of Pain by Garry Kilworth. (2016, Jul 27). Retrieved from

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