“Here’s your one chance Fancy” Reba McEntire’s song titled “Fancy” arouses interest in many people because poverty is such a popular issue in today’s society. As Reba states in line 1 “I remember it all very well lookin’ back it was the summer I turned eighteen” you can tell she is a young lady, and as you continue through the lyrics you acknowledge that “Fancy”, her mother, and young sibling live in a “rundown shack” and her father had left them. She continues to tell us that her mom buys her a dress and sends her out to the streets due to her being sick and the baby being hungry.
Throughout the song her mother states, “Here’s your one chance Fancy don’t let me down” illustrating that there’s nothing her mom can do and that it’s all up to her to make it from here. In Reba McEntire’s song lyrics and video “fancy” deep tone, vivid imagery, and figurative language is used to illustrate a young girl growing up in poverty and make something of herself. Reba illustrates that Fancy is a young girl who is sent out to work through a form of prostitution to a make a better life for her family and herself. She illustrates by using deep tone throughout the lyrics.
In line 25 Reba says, “She handed me a heart shaped locket that said to thine own self be true” and in the video she expresses how angry she is by ripping the necklace off her neck and throwing it on the ground. It can be inferred that she is angry about her mom putting her out on the streets. At this point she doesn’t understand how she could do this to a young girl who’s barely a woman. You can tell Reba is angry because why would she rip of something her mother gave her not knowing if this would be the last time she saw her.
This deep tone she uses, which is illustrated as anger, is just one of the many that she illustrates throughout the lyrics of her song. Another example of the deep tone she uses is contained in lines 69-72. Here she talks about still being able to hear her mom’s voice and how desperate she sounds. Her mom wanted so badly for Fancy to make something of herself, seeing that she could no longer support her. That’s why she was always saying “Here’s your one chance Fancy don’t let me down”, she was saying this because it was her only way out.
Reba uses an innuendo to gain the imagery needed to get the visual idea of Fancy. Throughout the lyrics she tries to help everyone picture what she is saying through vivid imagery. For example in lines 3-6 she states, “We lived in a one room rundown shack On the outskirts of New Orleans We didn’t have money for food or rent To say the least we were hard pressed. ” She is illustrating what type of environment they live in by implying they live in a “rundown shack”. You can tell that they live in poverty by Reba inferring that one it was rundown, two it was a shack, and three it was a one bedroom.
Then when she mentions hard pressed Reba is referring to the poverty that they live in because they have no money and nothing to eat. She also refers to being hard pressed by stating that the baby was starving. This doesn’t just illustrate of how bad she has it, but it also illustrates how poor they are. An example where she uses vivid imagery is contained in lines 20-24 when she says, “…She looked at a pitiful shack and the she looked at me and took a ragged breath She said your Pa’s runned off and I’m real sick…”.
Reba is pointing out that although her mother is deathly ill and the baby is very hungry, she is doing this for the best interest of Fancy. Her mom wants her to have a better life than what she has had and wants her to move up in life. There are many more texts that Reba used to portray an image for everyone to see clearly. The type of imagery she uses throughout the lyrics is very vivid, and she tries to paint a picture in your head of what’s going on. In this sense to make it easier for you to tell what is going on. Fancy needed to be described in such a way you could gain your own vision of her world at that time.
Reba uses words such as combed and curled just like in line 9 she says, “Mama washed and combed and curled my hair” to visualize the figurative language for the listener to understand it. Her mother was trying to make her appealing to the older men so she could come across a man that will actually take care of her versus a younger man who would treat her as an ordinary prostitute. Not only did she accent her facial features but she also dressed her in a dancing dress, which she illustrates that its red, velvet, and split up the side to her hip.
By telling you this it’s easier for us to picture of her in our heads. Reba also states in line 51-52, “I might have been born just plain white trash But Fancy was my name”. These lyrics tell us that even though she may have lived the life she did that doesn’t define who she was. Even though people may have looked down upon her, she was still going to hold her head up high and keep on trying to build a better life for herself. When first beginning this easily interpreted video, Reba is picked up by a cab driver.
He states that he can’t believe she is riding in his cab and talks about her making movies and records, implying how famous she is now. It then shows them pulling up to the so called “rundown shack” that she mentioned in the text. Before stepping into the home she has a flashback of her mother before she sends her to the streets. Finally the music starts as she steps into her old home. As the video continues the grown Fancy has a flashback of the young Fancy ripping off the locket before she leaves and lets it drop to her mother’s feet.
As she walks through the house and into the room, she opens a desk drawer and pulls out a box. In the box she finds the locket that her mother had given her. As the video continues you see her walking up to her mother’s grave and hangs the locket from her tombstone while saying, “It’s okay mama, I understand. ” Reba is emphasizes that even though she had hard times, she understands why her mother did it. When the cab pulls off you notice a sign that says: future site of Fancy Rae Baker Home of Runaways.
She wants to have a place for younger women so they don’t have to encounter and go through the “hardships” she had to experience. The texts and video of “Fancy” is similar in a few ways. One of them being, the story of a young women being brought up in poverty, put on the streets and on her own to make a way of life. Another similarity between the two is they both have the same characters, which include Fancy and her mother. As far as having similarities and differences, they are more alike than anything and they also complement one another.
The lyrics to this song, also known as its written text; and the video, which can be known as a visual text, have differences too. One of these being the song speaks as if Fancy was a well-known prostitute who had been on the streets for years. When watching the video, you notice that a man picks her up from the house. Before leaving Fancy runs up to her mom and gives her a hug. This vividly shows that she did not want to leave, as you see her stare out the car window as they leave. When reading through the yrics a few times and watching the video a few times you realize that this is the only difference between the two. The lyrics may not tell everything that is shown in the video, but that’s the only way they differ. In conclusion, you can interpret from Reba’s song that just because you are brought up in poverty doesn’t mean you can’t make something of yourself. This song conveys the story of a young woman growing up in poverty and eventually making something of herself. She went from having not a single thing but her family to becoming a famous woman; she had her own movies and records at a decent age.
Reba illustrates that at first she was not happy and very angry at the fact that her mom was making her leave the only thing she knew as a home to try and build a new life on the streets. Later on in life when she realizes what her mom did, she understands why her mom did it. In my opinion, the video and lyrics match hand and hand. Before watching the video you can interpret exactly what they are showing in her music video. Reba tries to illustrate in her song of the hard time she had went through as a young woman and what she had to do to get where she is today.
In doing so, the message she is trying to get across is that nothing comes easy and some things may be harder than others. She was a girl brought up in a low income world and she went from that to a very famous person. All in all Reba does a good job illustrating the text to us by the use of her tone, image, and language. This piece of music would not be what it is without the use of these three elements because without them we would not be able to visualize the story that she is telling us. Works Cited Fancy. Screenplay by Bobby Gentry. Dir. And Prod. Reba McEntire and Jimmy Bowen. 1991 Reba McEntire. “Fancy”