The hidden meaning of Matthew Charles Sanders` ``M.I.A.``.


Teks penuh






Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements to Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degree

in English Language Education


Yoseph Yulian Setyadi Student Number: 111214142









Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements to Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degree

in English Language Education


Yoseph Yulian Setyadi Student Number: 111214142






I dedicate this undergraduate thesis to:



"He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a




Setyadi, Yoseph (2017). The Hidden Meaning of Matthew Charles Sanders’ “M.I.A.”. Yogyakarta: English Language Education Study Program. Department of Language and Arts Education. Faculty of Teachers Training and Education. Sanata Dharma University.

This study analyzes “M.I.A.”, a song written by Matthew Charles Sanders, a vocalist of American metalcore band, Avenged Sevenfold. It tells about a soldier who fights in the war. The song seems to be written in tribute to Sanders’ friends who serve in the military.

The aim of this study is to reveal the meaning of Matthew Charles Sanders’ “M.I.A.”. In order to achieve the goal, the researcher has formulated two problems. They are “What is the literal meaning of Matthew Sanders’ ‘M.I.A.’?” and “What is the hidden meaning of Matthew Sanders’ ‘M.I.A.’?”

The researcher uses library study in conducting this thesis. There are two sources used in this study. The primary source is “M.I.A.”, a song written by Matthew Charles Sanders. The secondary sources are taken from printed books, online books, and online articles. There are some theories applied in this study, namely theory of poetry, theory of deconstruction, and theory of ambiguity. The approach of this study is post-structuralism approach or deconstruction.

Based on the analysis, there are two findings. The first one deals with the literal meaning of “M.I.A.”. It is about the courage of a soldier in the war through the act of killing. The second finding deals with the hidden meaning of “M.I.A.”, namely that Missing in Action (M.I.A.) does not only deal with physical status, but also mental status of the soldier aftermath. It is also suggested that the future researcher analyzes “M.I.A.” using the historical and biographical approach. This study can also be used as a teaching material in the poetry class.



Setyadi, Yoseph (2017). The Hidden Meaning of Matthew Charles Sanders’ “M.I.A.”. Yogyakarta: Program Studi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris. Jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa dan Seni. Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan. Universitas Sanata Dharma.

Penelitian ini menganalisis “M.I.A.”, sebuah lagu yang ditulis oleh Matthew Charles Sanders, penyanyi dari Avenged Sevenfold, sebuah band metalcore dari Amerika Serikat. Lagu ini tampaknya sebuah bentuk dedikasi dari Sanders untuk teman-temannya yang bertugas di militer.

Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk menguak makna dari “M.I.A.” karangan Matthew Charles Sanders. Untuk mencapai tujuan penelitian, peneliti telah merumuskan dua permasalahan. Dua rumusan masalah tersebut adalah “Apa makna tertulis dari ‘M.I.A.’?” dan “Apa makna tersembunyi dari ‘M.I.A.’?”

Peneliti menggunakan studi perpustakaan dalam melaksanakan penelitian ini. Ada dua sumber yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini. Sumber utama adalah teks lirik “M.I.A.”, sebuah lagu yang ditulis oleh Matthew Charles Sanders. Sumber kedua diambil dari buku cetak, buku elektronik, dan artikel online. Beberapa teori digunakan dalam penelitian ini, seperti teori puisi, teori dekonstruksi, dan teori ambiguitas. Penelitian ini menggunakan pendekatan post strukturalisme atau disebut juga dekonstruksi.

Ditemukan dua hasil berdasarkan analisis yang dilakukan. Hasil pertama berkaitan dengan makna tertulis dari “M.I.A.”. “M.I.A.” memiliki makna tertulis tentang keberanian seorang tentara di medan perang yang digambarkan melalui aksi pembunuhan. Hasil kedua berkaitan dengan makna tersembunyi dari “M.I.A.” bahwa hilang dalam bertugas tidak hanya dilihat dari keadaan fisik, tetapi juga keadaan mental dari tentara setelah perang. Peneliti yang akan datang disarankan menggunakan pendekatan biografis dan sejarah dalam melakukan penelitian tentang “M.I.A.”. Penelitian ini juga dapat digunakan sebagai bahan ajar dalam kelas Poetry.




First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Jesus Christ. Without His blessings, I would not have been able to finish this thesis.

I would like to express my gratitude to my advisor Dr. Antonius Herujiyanto, M.A. for his time, patience, and guidance throughout this thesis writing. Without his patience and advice, this thesis would never have finished.

I would like to thank my mother Elisabet Sri Sulistyo Udjiani for her unconditional love, patience, and support in this thesis writing. I also would like to

thank my late father Agustinus Bumiadi (1952-2006) for his love, patience, guidance and motivation throughout his life. I would never have reached this point without his precious lessons. Then, I would like to thank Sedyo Rahayu, especially

my uncle Yos Tata Bhumi Putranto and my aunt Maria Tatik Supriyatiningsih for their generosity and motivation. Without them, I would not have been able to

study in Sanata Dharma University.

I would like to give special thanks to Herda Pramundito, S.Pd., for his precious time in helping to finish this thesis. Without his willingness to share his

time and knowledge, this thesis is unlikely finished. I would also like to thank Ria Resty Winarni, S.Pd., and Vincentia Aprilla Putri, S.Pd., for proofreading this thesis. My deepest affection goes to my sister Valentina Febriani, S.Pd., my brothers Aloysius Yuniarto and Petrus Canisius Apriliano for their support and



I would like to thank Roosefine Shierly Septiana for always standing beside me. I thank her for the love, support, patience, and companion. I also thank

her for our togetherness in joys and tears.

Last but not least, I would like to thank anyone whom I cannot mention one

by one for helping me in writing this thesis. May God bless them all.





ABSTRACT ... vii


A. Review of Related Theories ... 7

1. Decorum ... 7

2. Theory of Poetry ... 8

3. Post-Structuralism Approach ... 11



B. Approach of the Study ... 24

C. Method of the Study ... 25


A. The Literal Meaning of “M.I.A.” ... 27

B. The Hidden Meaning of “M.I.A.” ... 42

1. Binary Opposition ... 42

2. Contradiction/Paradoxes ... 48

3. Shifts/Breaks ... 49

1) Shifts/Breaks in Tone ... 50

2) Shift/Break in Absence/Omissions ... 52

3) Shift/Break in Attitude ... 53


A. Conclusions ... 56

B. Suggestions ... 57








This chapter discusses the background of the study, research questions,

significance of the study, and definition of terms. The background of the study describes why the researcher chooses the song as the research topic. The research questions present the formulated problems that will be discussed and answered in

this study. The significance of the study provides some advantages of this study for the readers, students, teachers, and future researchers. The last part is definition of

terms which provides some definitions of the keywords that are used in this study to avoid misunderstanding.

A. Background of the Study

“M.I.A.” is a song composed by American metalcore band, Avenged

Sevenfold. It is listed on their third album entitled City of Evil. The album is also their first album which was released by Warner Music, a major label. It presents the horror of war in the point of view of a soldier. The lyrics of “M.I.A.” were written

by Avenged Sevenfold’s vocalist, Matthew Sanders. In the lyrics, Sanders uses the

first point of view of a soldier to portray the journey throughout the war.

Matthew Sanders has done a good work on literature through “M.I.A.” song

lyrics. He wrote the lyrics as he knew that literature could reflect life experience. In


Perrine, in Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry (1969) argues that “poetry exists to bring us a sense and a perception of life, to widen and sharpen our contacts

with existence” (p. 4). In short, it concerns about experience. Through the lyrics of

“M.I.A.”, Matthew Sanders enters the world of poetry by depicting life experience

through words. Poetry, is a genre in literature that portrays human life experiences through words. According to Perrine (1969), “poetry can be used as a gear for stepping up the intensity and increasing the range of our experiences and as a glass

for clarifying it” (p. 4). Poetry helps us to see and feel other people’s experiences

in form of words and to understand more about life. Perrine adds that “as human

being, we all have an inner need to live more deeply and fully and with greater awareness, to know the experience of others and to know better our own

experiences” (p. 4). However, there is an important thing that a poet should

consider. According to Simpson in his book an Introduction to Poetry (1967), a poet should consider “decorum” or “suiting the style to the subject” (p. 10).

Therefore, the style of “M.I.A.” by Matthew Sanders is fitted to his purpose, portraying the journey of a soldier in the war.

The reason for choosing “M.I.A.” as the subject of this study is that because

it was the band’s first song about war. The interesting thing is that none of the band

members has ever served in the military service. At the moment when the song was

created, United States of America deployed massive military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Matt Sanders states that “I have a lot of friends out of high school,

they didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives, so some went into the


2011). It means that Sanders has many friends served in the military. Thus, “M.I.A.” could be written as a tribute for them. Therefore, the researcher wants to discover

the band’s view toward the war which involves many of Sanders’ friends. The

band’s view may be discovered through the meaning of the song. Bearing this in

mind, this study tries to analyze the lyrics of “M.I.A.” using Jacques Derrida’s

deconstruction which deals with meaning. Guerin, Labor, Morgan, Reesman, and Willingham in A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature (2011) state that

“deconstruction involves taking any meaning to reveal contradictory structures

hidden within” (p. 177). Thus, this study aims to reveal the hidden meaning of

“M.I.A.” by deconstructing its lyrics.

B. Research Questions

In this study, the problem is formulated into two questions as follows: 1. What is the literal meaning of Matthew Sanders’ “M.I.A.”?

2. What is the hidden meaning of Matthew Sanders’ “M.I.A.”?

C. Significance of the Study

As this study deals with meaning of Matthew Sanders’ “M.I.A.” song lyrics,

this study is beneficial for the readers who are interested to know deeper about

Avenged Sevenfold’s song. This study also encourages the readers to know that

metalcore bands like Avenged Sevenfold could write meaningful song lyrics. In the


researchers, this study is also useful as references in conducting deconstruction study.

D. Definition of Terms 1. “M.I.A.”

“M.I.A.” is a song composed by Avenged Sevenfold, an American

metalcore band. Its lyrics are written by the vocalist, Matthew Charles

Sanders. It is listed on the album City of Evil which was released in 2005. Further, its title is taken from the military term Missing in Action (MIA).

Based on the definition provided by the Department of Defense of the

United States, military serviceman is listed as MIA if “he or she was not at

their duty location due to apparent involuntary reasons as a result of hostile action and his/her location is not known" (as cited in Clark, n.d.). As the location is unknown, the status of dead or alive is also unclear.

2. Deconstruction

Deconstruction is a reading strategy proposed by a French

philosopher named Jacques Derrida which deals with meaning. According

to Guerin, et al, (2011), “deconstruction describes that the text as always in

the state of change, furnishing only provisional meanings” (p. 176).

Therefore, deconstruction is applied to reveal the hidden meaning within

“M.I.A” song lyrics as Guerin, et al, state that deconstruction aims “to reveal


3. Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold is a metalcore band from Huntington Beach,

California. The band was formed in 1999 by Matthew Sanders and Zachary James Baker along with James Owen Sullivan and Matt Wendt.

Later, Matt Wendt was replaced by Jonathan Seward and a second guitarist, Brian Haner joined the band. The name of the band, Avenged Sevenfold, was originally taken from Genesis 4:24 of the Holy Bible. It

was suggested by Matthew Charles Sanders. Avenged Sevenfold has released seven albums namely Sounding the Seventh Trumpet (2001),

Waking the Fallen (2003), City of Evil (2005), Avenged Sevenfold (2007), Nightmare (2010), Hail to the King (2013), and The Stage (2016).

4. Hidden Meaning

Sanders (n.d.) categorizes hidden meaning into two common types. They are deliberately disguised meanings and unconsciously disguised

meanings. The first type includes the use of figurative speech, irony, and

sarcasm. Sanders states that “we read obviously double or triple meanings

every day in the forms of irony and sarcasm, which over- or under-state

the author's real meaning”. On the other hand, Sanders notes that the

second type of hidden meaning is “not consciously intended, but are

artifacts of creation, like fingerprints on a gun, fossil tree rings, or carbon-14 percentages, which tell us things about how and when the work was


coded, or concealed meanings and historical/cultural conditions. This type of hidden meaning is resulted from the external side of the text such as the





This chapter consists of three parts; They are review of related theories,

context of the song, and theoretical framework. The review of related theories presents the theories and approaches that are used in this study. The context of the study presents the review of the object of the study and the subject matter in it.

While, theoretical framework consists of the contribution of the theories and reviews applied in this study to answer the problem formulations.

A. Review of Related Theories

This part presents the theories that are employed in this study. They are

decorum, theory of poetry, post-structuralism approach, theory of deconstruction, and theory of ambiguity. These theories are applied in order to achieve the goal of this study which aims for the meaning of “M.I.A”.

1. Decorum

In the world of poetry, decorum is an essential thing that needs to be considered. Cuddon (1992) states that decorum is “a matter of behavior on the

part of the poet qua his poem,” (p. 212). While, Simpson (1967) states that decorum is “the principle of suiting the style to the subject” (p. 10). Based on

these statements, decorum is the principle about what is suitable or proper in the


character, thought and language all need to be appropriate to each other” (p. 212). Based on this statement, a poet should modify the style (e.g. action,

character, thought, and language) and tone to fit the subject matters in his/her poem. Thus, the style fits his/her purpose in writing the poem. Simpson also adds that “the style is also determined by the necessity to make the reader see

and feel” (p. 10). It means that the style should be appropriate to the speaker,

the circumstance, and the subject matter. In this study, this principle is used to clarify Matthew Sanders’ decorum in suiting “M.I.A.” song lyrics.

2. Theory of Poetry

Perrine (1969) states that “poetry is as universal as language and almost

as ancient” (p. 3). While, Klarer (1999) states that “poetry is one of the oldest genres in literary history” (p. 28). Based on those statements, poetry has existed

since long time ago. Therefore, it is difficult to define poetry into a single fixed definition due to its age. Klarer suggests that “in spite of this long tradition, it is harder to define than any other genres” (p. 28). Therefore, the researcher

searches some definitions of poetry in order to reach better understanding about

what poetry is. Wordsworth (as cited in Barnet, Berman, and Burto, 1963) defines poetry as “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (p. 306). Drew

(1959) in Poetry: A Modern Guide to Its Understanding and Enjoyment states that poetry is “the most concentrated and intense form of communication among

the arts of language” (p. 15). While, Perrine (1969) defines poetry as “a kind of language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language”


its power in saying something. It means that the words written in poetry may have meaning other than their literal meaning as seen in dictionary.

Understanding poetry may be difficult since the words are applied beyond their literal meaning. To help understanding a work of poetry,

paraphrasing is needed. According to Kennedy and Gioia (1999), paraphrasing is a process “to map out clearly the key images, actions, and ideas” (p. 665). Further, Kennedy and Gioia add that “in paraphrasing, we put into our own

words what we understand the poem to say, restating ideas that seem essential, coming out and stating what the poem may only suggest” (p. 652). Based on

those statements, paraphrasing is an attempt the reveal the important things in a poem in order to understand what the poet wants to say. However, Kennedy and Gioia (1999) note that “some people maintain that no poem can be truly

paraphrased”. It is reasonable since paraphrasing only tries to map the important

things in a poem, not to re-create the full effect of a poem. Therefore, the result

of paraphrasing is only one interpretation among many others.

Kennedy and Gioia (2002) classify poetry into three major categories:

lyric poetry, narrative poetry, and dramatic poetry. Those three major categories are described below:

a. Lyric Poetry


ever bringing himself or herself into it. Generally, lyric poetry refers to poem which made for singing (p. 10).

b. Narrative Poetry

It is a poem which main purpose is to tell a story. It similar with fiction in

characters, settings, and storyline (p. 12). c. Dramatic Poetry

It is a poem which presents the voice of an imaginary character (or

characters) speaking directly, without any additional narration by the author. It is often called as dramatic monologue (p. 15).

Further, each type of poetry contains stanza. According to Kennedy and Gioia (2002), stanza is “a recurring pattern of two or more lines of verse, poetry’s equivalent to the paragraph in prose” (p. 679). Based on this statement,

stanza is the basic organizational principle in poetry. There is also refrain, which Kennedy and Gioia define as “words, phrases, or lines repeated at intervals in a

song or song-like poem” (p. 145). According to Kennedy and Gioia (2002),

there are several types of stanza as described below:

a. Couplet

Couplet is a stanza that consists of two lines. b. Tercet


c. Quatrain

Quatrain is a stanza that consists of four lines. It is also the most common

stanza used in English-language poetry. d. Quintain

Quintain is a stanza that consists of five lines. It is also called as a quintet or a cinquain.

e. Sestet

Sestet is a stanza that consists of six lines. f. Septet

Septet is a stanza that consists of seven lines. g. Octave

Octave is a stanza that consists of eight lines.

There is also one essential thing in poetry, namely a theme. According to Kennedy and Gioia (2002), theme is “the central thought of the poem” (p. 8). In

short, Perrine (1969) states that “poetry is just a fancy way of writing something

that could be said more simply” (p. 10). However, due to its complexity, poetry

needs special treatment as Kennedy and Gioia (2002) suggest that it needs “to

be read slowly, carefully and attentively” (p. 5).

3. Post-Structuralism Approach

Post-structuralism comes after structuralism. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what structuralism is. Guerin, et al. (2011) state that structuralism “identifies structure, systems of relationships, which endow signs (e.g., words)


and shows us the ways in which we think” (p. 169). It means that structuralism

focuses on a system and structure of textual structure study. However,

structuralism only applies a particular system as Guerin, et al. (2011) explain below:

Accordingly, they (structuralists) have been developed analytical, systematic approaches to literary texts that avoid traditional categories like plot, character, setting, theme, tone, and the like. Even more significantly, however, structuralists tend to deny the text any inherent privilege, meaning, or authority; to them, the text is only a system that poses the question of how such a construct of language can contain meaning for us” (p. 169).

In other words, structuralists describe the meaning without considering any other systems that may help in shaping the meaning of the text. It also reveals that structuralism seeks what is visible from the text. Thus, structuralists tend

to find meaning from the intrinsic and structural aspects, which is the text itself. On the contrary, post-structuralism, which is the approach of this study, concentrates on “rhetorical than the grammatical” (Guerin, et al., 2011, p. 176).

It means that both structuralism and post-structuralism seek for meaning, but each of them has a different way to obtain the meaning. Structuralism focuses

on how meaning is found out of underlying structure. Barry (2009) states that structuralism aims for “establishing objective knowledge”. It means that the

meaning that is discovered from a text is firm and fixed. However, post-structuralism clarifies that meaning is not only produced from a fixed source, but also produced from other factors as Culler (1997) explains below:


do not exist independently of the subject, as objects of knowledge, but are structures for subjects, who are entangled with the forces that produce them (p. 121).

Moreover, since post-structuralism concentrates on rhetorics, it is related to philosophy. Barry (2009) states that post-structuralism “derives ultimately

from philosophy”. Philosophy is a discipline that always tends to emphasize

the difficulty of achieving secure knowledge about things. Barry (2009) adds that “philosophy is skeptical by nature and usually undercuts and questions

commonsensical notions and assumptions”. Since post-structuralism is related

to philosophy, post-structuralism inherits this habit of skepticism, and somehow, intensifies it in seeking the meaning within the text. According to Culler (1997), one procedure in seeking meaning is describing “how texts create meaning by violating any conventions that structural analysis locates”

(p. 121). For post-structuralists, meaning of the words “cannot be guaranteed one hundred percent pure” (Barry, 2009). By that means, it is impossible to

define a complete or coherent signifying system, as Culler (1997) states that “systems are always changing” (p. 121).

4. Theory of Deconstruction

Deconstruction and post-structuralism are related to each other. Barry (2009) states that “post-structuralist literary critic is engaged in the task of

deconstructing the text”. Guerin, et al. (2011) addthat “post-structuralism and deconstruction are virtually synonymous” (p. 176). In other words,


background, Guerin, et al. state that “deconstruction arises out of structuralism of Roland Barthes as a reaction against the certainties of structuralism” (p. 176).

However, deconstruction cannot easily to be defined. Culler (1997) defines deconstruction as “a critique of the hierarchical oppositions that have

structured Western thought: inside/outside, mind/body, literal/metaphorical, speech/writing, presence/absence, nature/culture, form/meaning” (p. 122).

While, Bertens (2008) states that deconstruction is “applied post-structuralism”. Barry (2009) states that this “applied post-structuralism” is a process of

“deconstructing the text”. Johnson (as cited in Culler, 1997) states that deconstruction is a process that “teases out of warring forces of signification

within a text” (p. 122). Later on, Barry concludes that deconstruction is a process of “deconstructing the text” by “reading it against itself, with the

purpose of knowing the text as it cannot know itself”. Further, Klarer (1999)

argues that “nothing exists outside the text” (p. 88). While, In Of Grammatology, Derrida describes this process as “deconstructive reading” as


“deconstructive reading must always aim at a certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he does not command of the patterns of language that he uses … [It] attempts to make the not-seen accessible to sight” (as cited in Barry, 2009).

Based on description mentioned by Derrida, deconstruction process


unseen rather than the visible one. In addition, Cuddon in Dictionary of Literary Terms (as cited in Barry, 2009) states that in deconstruction:

“a text can be read as saying something quite different from what it appears to be saying … it may be read as carrying plurality or significance or as saying many different things which are fundamentally at variance with, contradictory to and subversive of what may be seen by criticism as a single stable meaning”.

It strengthens the idea that deconstructing a text may reveal new meaning that

hides within a text. Moreover, the new meaning may oppose the previous meaning that can be seen as Cuddon suggests that “a text may betray itself”.

Deconstruction makes the texts as “open-ended constructs” which are

always dynamic. It means that the meaning in the text can only lead to countless other meanings (Guerin, et al. 2011, p. 176), as described as follows:

“deconstruction views texts as subversively undermining an apparent or surface meaning, and it denies any final explication or statement of meaning. It questions the presence of any objective structure or content in a text. Instead of alarm or dismay at their discoveries, the practitioners of deconstruction celebrate the text’s self-destruction, that inevitable seed of its own internal contradiction, as a never-ending free play of language” (p. 176).

Klarer (1999) also agrees that deconstruction leads to various meaning, but not final meaning by stating “the text does not remain the same after its

reconstruction, since the analysis of signs and their re-organization in the interpretative process is like a continuation of the text itself” (p. 89).

Therefore, object of deconstruction is not like formalism, which seeks

for the final meaning of a text as Kennedy and Gioia (2002) mention that formalist “demonstrates how the diverse elements of a text cohere into


deconstruction is “to examine the process of its production--not the private

experience of the individual author, but the mode of production, the materials, and their arrangements in the work” (p. 104). Kennedy and Gioia state that the

object of deconstruction is “focusing on how language is used to achieve power,

since they (deconstructionists) believe that there are no truths, only rival interpretations” (p. 655). Those statements above strengthen the argument that

the texts in deconstruction are open-ended and its object, as Guerin, et al. (2011) suggest, is to describe that “the text as always in the state of change, furnishing

only provisional meanings” (p. 176). Barry (2009) adds that the objective of deconstruction is “to show the disunity which underlies its apparent unity” (p.


Considering its practice, deconstruction “practices what has been called

textual harassment or oppositional reading, reading with the aim of unmasking internal contradictions or inconsistence in the text” (Barry, 2009, p. 69). While,

according to Guerin, et al. (2011), deconstruction practice is described as “taking apart any meaning to reveal contradictory structures hidden within” (p.

177). However, Guerin, et al. add that “since there is no absolute truth,

deconstructionists seek undermine all pretensions to authority, or power systems, in language” (p. 176). Those statements reveal that deconstruction

takes apart the text to reveal the hidden meaning underneath, but Culler (1997) argues that deconstruction “doesnot destroy” the text, but “gives it a different structure and functioning” (p. 122). It is reasonable since text consists of words,


medium” and have “no fixed, single meaning” (p. 655). In short, Barry (2009) concludes that deconstruction practice aims “to show that the text is at war with

itself: it is a house divided, and disunified” (p. 69).

Deconstruction involves several steps in the practice. Barry (2009) notes that “deconstructionist looks for evidence of gaps, breaks, fissures and

discontinuities of all kinds” (p. 70). In order to achieve a better understanding, Barry adds that the deconstructionist seeks “contradiction/paradoxes,

shift/breaks in tone, viewpoint, tense, time, person, attitude, conflicts, absences/omissions, linguistic quirks, aporia” to achieve its ultimate goal,

which is “to show textual disunity” (p. 70). Further, Barry (2009) provides

several things that is crucial for deconstructionist to do as follows:

a. Reading text against itself so as to expose what might be thought of as the ‘textual subconscious’, where meanings are expressed which may be

directly contrary to the surface meaning (p. 70).

b. Fixing upon the surface features of the words- similarities in sound, the root meanings of words, a ‘dead’ (or dying) metaphor and bring these to the

foreground, so that they become crucial to the overall meaning (p. 70).

c. Seeking to show that the text is characterized by disunity rather than unity (p. 70).

d. Concentrating on a single passage and analyze it so intensively that it becomes impossible to sustain a ‘univocal’ reading and the language


e. Looking for shifts and breaks of various kinds in the text and see these as evidence of what is repressed or glossed over or passed over in silence by the text. These discontinuities are sometimes called ‘fault-lines’, a

geological metaphor referring to the breaks in rock formations which give

evidence of previous activity and movement (p. 71).

Those several things above are practiced in analyzing the “M.I.A” song

lyrics through deconstruction study. However, the study starts with discovering the binary opposition within the text. Bressler (1999 states that “the first stage

in a deconstructive reading is to recognize the existence and operation of binary opposition in our thinking” (p. 126). According to Chandler (2002), binary

opposition is “a pair of mutually-exclusive signifiers in a paradigm set

representing categories which are logically opposed” (p. 224). Bressler (1999) explains that in binary opposition, “one concept is superior and defines itself by

its opposite or inferior center” (p. 125). It means that we can understand the

meaning of ‘good’ when it is contrasted to ‘bad’. Bressler adds that “by

identifying the binary operation that exists in the text, deconstructionist can then show the preconceived assumptions on which most of us base our interpretations” (p. 130). Thus, discovering the binary opposition in the text is

important for deconstructionist. Further, Bressler (1999) provides some steps in

practicing this strategy of reading as follows:

a. Discover the binary operation that governs a text


d. Dismantle previously held worldviews

e. Accept the possibility of various perspective or levels of meaning in a text

based on the new binary inversions

f. Allow meaning of the text to be undecidable (p. 131).

Deconstruction in this study is applied in order to reveal the meaning which is hidden beneath the literal meaning of “M.I.A” song lyrics. This study follows the guide provided by Barry (2009). However, the step proposed by Bressler (1999) are applied before moving to Barry’s steps. Therefore, the meaning of

the song is taken to the new level of understanding as Guerin, et al. (2011) note “deconstruction leaves meaning open for the reader” (p. 178).

5. Theory of Ambiguity

Empson (1955) in his book Seven Types of Ambiguity states that “an

ambiguity, in ordinary speech, means something very pronounced, and as a rule witty or deceitful” (p. 3). Ambiguity can be found in a text which may occur

due to different perception between the author and the reader. For example, Empson notes that “the statement ‘the brown cat sat on the red mat’ may be split up into a series” (p. 3). Empson also adds that “each such simple statement may be translated into a complicated statement which employs other terms” (p. 3).

Further, Empson (1955) provides seven types of ambiguity that may

occur in a text. In this study, these types of ambiguity are used to analyze to contradiction found in the “M.I.A” song lyrics. The seven types of ambiguity


a. First Type

The first type ambiguity arises when a detail is effective in several ways at

once, e.g. by comparisons with several points of likeness, antitheses with several points of difference, ‘comparative’ adjectives, subdued metaphors,

and extra meanings suggested by rhythm (p. 3). b. Second Type

The second type ambiguity occurs when two or more alternative meanings

are fully resolved into one (p. 57). c. Third Type

The third type of ambiguity is considered as a verbal matter which occurs when two ideas connected only by being both relevant in the context, can

be given in one word simultaneously. This is often done by reference to derivation (p. 117).

d. Fourth Type

The fourth type of ambiguity occurs when two or more meanings of a statement do not agree among themselves, but are combined to make clear

a more complicated state of mind in the author (p. 151). e. Fifth Type

This type of ambiguity occurs when the author is discovering his idea in the

act of writing, or not holding it all in his mind at once, so that, for instance, there is a simile which applies to nothing exactly, but lies half-way between


f. Sixth Type

The sixth type of ambiguity occurs when a statement says nothing, by

tautology, by contradiction, or by irrelevant statements; so that the reader is forced to invent statement of his own and they are liable to conflict with one

another (p. 199). g. Seventh Type

This type of ambiguity is the most ambiguous among other types. It occurs

when two meanings of the word, the two values of ambiguity, are the two opposite meanings defined by the context, so that the total effect is to show a fundamental division in the writer’s mind (p. 217).

B. Context of the Song

M.I.A is a song released by Avenged Sevenfold, a metalcore band from Huntington Beach, California, United States of America. It was released in 2005

on the album City of Evil and listed as the last track of the album. The song was written by its vocalist, Matthew Charles Sanders. He wrote the song as a tribute for his friends who joined the military service. The title of the song itself was taken from military abbreviation of “Missing in Action” which means those

who lost of killed in the battlefield, but the bodies were not found yet.

However, Sanders did not mention the war that inspired him to write a song. It is started with the protagonist which simply mentioned as “I” watching


saw something that bothered his mind as a human being. That thing was the horror of war which he should go through. The horror of war was depicted in the act of killings which took his friends’ and enemy soldiers’ lives. In the end,

he managed to come home alive. Despite all brave actions he did during the

war, he was labeled as a murderer.

Understanding the horror faced by the soldiers and having friends on the

field, Sanders decided to write a song about his friends. Although he did not join the military, Sanders tried to put himself as a soldier in the field. He also wrote the feelings about the veterans who have come home after the service.

The feeling of guilt, sins, and fear about what they have done is portrayed in the lyrics.

C. Theoretical Framework

Based on the formulated problem mentioned in the previous chapter, this study aims for the hidden meaning of “M.I.A” through the deconstruction

study. Besides, the researcher also employs some other theories that are related to this study. In order to answer the first formulated problem, the researcher employs decorum from Simpson (1967) and theory of poetry from Kennedy and

Gioia (2002). Further, to answer the second formulated problem, the researcher applies post-structuralism approach, deconstruction by Derrida which is taken

from various sources such as Barry (2009) and Bressler (1999). The theory of ambiguity from Empson (1955) is used to clarify that the literal meaning and




This chapter consists of three parts namely object of the study, approach of

the study, and method of the study. Object of the study explains the song which is used in this study. Approach of the study describes the approach used in this study which is post-structuralism approach. The last part which tells the steps taken in

conducting this study is called method of the study.

A. Object of the Study

The object of the study is the song lyrics of “M.I.A.” from American

metalcore band, Avenged Sevenfold. The song was written by its vocalist, Matthew

Sanders. It was released on the album City of Evil which was published by Warner Bros Music on June 7, 2005. The album was ranked #30 on the Billboard 200 and

certified as a platinum record by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in August 2009. Unlike Beast and the Harlot, Bat Country, Burn It Down,

and Seize the Day, M.I.A was not released as an individual release or a single. Further, the band rarely performed the song on the live performance due to its long duration, which ran for eight minutes and forty-eight seconds.


portraying the point of view of the soldier although he never joins the military. The lyrics begin with the fear about the war. Although the soldier fears about the war,

he must be brave and fearless in order to survive through the war. The main character’s bravery can be seen in the lines of fifth stanza say “So many soldiers on the other side, I take their lives so they can't take mine” and “I have my weapons so

there's nothing to fear”. In the end, the soldier returns to his country. However, he

does not feel like a hero for fighting for the country. Instead, he is haunted by the

war and the killing that he did.

B. Approach of the Study

The approach of this study is post-structuralism approach. The approach is employed since it is closely related to the deconstruction. Guerin, et al. (2011) state that “post-structuralism and deconstruction are virtually synonymous” (p. 176).

While, Barry (2009) defines deconstruction as applied post-structuralism. As for deconstruction itself, Klarer (1999) defines it as “the post-structuralist method of

analysis” which “starts with the assumption that a text can be analyzed (destructed)

and put together (constructed)” (p. 89). Guerin, et al. (2011) add that deconstruction

is a reading strategy which views texts as subversively undermining an apparent or surface meaning and it denies any final explication or statement of meaning. In this case, the text is the lyrics of the song “M.I.A.”. Further, Guerin, et al. (2011) state

that “texts are found to deconstruct themselves rather than to provide a stable

identifiable meaning” (p. 176). This statement explains that meaning is not


before deconstructionists arrive at this point, it has first uncovered the structure that operates in a text and shown us how these structures can be dismantled by making

use of elements of text itself. From the explanations about post-structuralism and deconstruction, it is clear that post-structuralism is applicable in this study. It sees

a text from different perspective. Thus, it reveals hidden meaning within a text.

C. Method of the Study

The researcher used library study in conducting this study. The primary datum was the lyrics of the song “M.I.A.” written by Matthew Sanders, the vocalist

of American heavy metal band, Avenged Sevenfold. The song lyrics were taken from Avenged Sevenfold’s titled “City of Evil”. The secondary data were theories about poetry, post-structuralism, deconstruction, and some data related to the song

and theories used in this study. The data were collected from printed books and online sources.

There were several steps applied by the researcher in conducting this study. First, the researcher read the lyrics of the song “M.I.A.” repeatedly many times without listening to the audio track of the song. Then, the researcher listened to the

song and read its lyrics simultaneously to get into the song deeper. Second, the researcher began to search and collected related theories in order to support the


Third, the researcher started to analyze the lyrics of the song “M.I.A.” in order to find the literal meaning. Also, the researcher used the theory of poetry to

clarify the system in writing the lyrics (e.g. type of poetry and stanza). Having done with the literal meaning, the researcher stepped forward to answer the second formulated problem which reveals the hidden meaning of “M.I.A.”. The researcher

applied deconstructive reading strategy using the steps proposed by Barry (2009) and Bressler (1999). Those two experts provide easy steps to follow. Besides, the

researcher also employed the theory of ambiguity from Empson (1955) to support the findings. The theory of ambiguity was used to bridge the literal meaning and




This chapter is mainly divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the

literal meaning of “M.I.A.”. The second part discusses the hidden meaning of


A. The Literal Meaning of “M.I.A.”

“M.I.A.” is the song composed by the American heavy metal band, Avenged

Sevenfold. The lyrics are written by the vocalist, Matthew Sanders or Matt Shadows as his stage name. Talking about the structure, “M.I.A” consists of nine stanzas.

The length of each stanza varies from four lines to eight lines, except the seven-line stanza. As in poetic term provided by Kennedy and Gioia (2002), four-line stanza is called quatrain, five-line stanza is called quintain, six-line stanza is called sestet,

and eight-line stanza is called an octave. The nine stanzas form a complete poem

which is also the lyrics of the song “M.I.A.”. The poem “M.I.A.” has one character

which is the soldier. It uses the point of view of the soldier himself. The interesting

about “M.I.A.” is that Matthew Sanders has never served in the military. Based on

the statements above, “M.I.A.” is classified as a lyric poem. It fulfills the

requirements that a lyric poem “expresses the thought and feelings of a single

speaker, “describe an object or recall an experience without the speaker’s ever


“M.I.A.” generally tells about the journey of a soldier who serves in the war.

Matthew Sanders employed decorum in order to suit the lyric poem of “M.I.A.”

According to Simpson (1967), decorum means suiting the style to the subject. Matthew Sanders modified the style and tone to fit the theme of the subject. The

subject, or the theme of “M.I.A.” is war. As a musician, he combined the poem’s

mood and tone in order to be sung in a song arrangement. Thus, it is clear that his purpose is to make good lyrics to be sung. Therefore, his style as a musician fits his

purpose in writing lyrics or poem. According to Simpson and Myers, style is also determined by the necessity to make the reader see and feel. It means that Matthew

Sanders should consider his style in writing lyrics in order to make the reader (or listener) see and feel his writing and singing of “M.I.A.”. Thus, it is important for

Matthew Sanders as a musician and a poet to suit “M.I.A.” in a song.

As mentioned earlier, “M.I.A.” portrays the war in the point of view of a

soldier who is also the center of the song. The soldier or the protagonist starts his

journey in the battlefield after he sees a “carnage”. In the beginning of the war, he

is quite confident that he is in the winning side, but the horror of the war shakes his

heart and mind. However, he is able to survive in the war and return to his country. The researcher provides individual stanza analysis in order to acquire a clear understanding about the lyrics and its literal meaning.

The First Stanza

Staring at the carnage, praying that the sun would never rise Living another day in disguise

These feelings can’t be right,


Oooooo…. Stand up and fight.

This stanza actually consists of six lines. It is called sestet. It tells the thought

of someone who is going to be deployed in a war. It begins with someone who sees a large-scale killing as the words “staring at the carnage” suggest. The researcher

sees the killing as an event that has direct impact on the person who becomes the subject of the lyrics or the main character. It is shown in the words “praying that

the sun would never rise”. The words seem to make the main character wish that

the killing day would have never come. It raises a question why the killing has a direct impact to the main character. The answer is revealed in the following line. It

turns out that the killing makes the main character be someone else as the word

“disguise” is used. The researcher simply thinks that the word “disguise” means a

soldier in uniform since the lyrics’ theme is about war. Further, the same line also

reveals that the main character is going to be deployed in a war as written “Living

another day in disguise”. After he knows that he is going to a war, he is bothered

by something inside his mind. It is stated in the third line, “These feelings can’t be

right”. The word “these” reveals that there is more than one thing that bother him.

It seems that he knows that bad things are waiting for him in the war, but he does

not know exactly what kind of bad things that await. Having unclear vision about the war and his bad feelings, the main character who is a soldier asks for “courage”.

It is shown in the fourth line, “Lend me your courage to stand up and fight”.

At first, the researcher thinks that the main character asks God for courage,

but the word “your” does not capitalized. Apparently, the word “your” refers to the


character’s loved ones, the researcher concludes that mother, wife, girlfriend,

siblings, or even friends are included in the group of the main character’s loved

ones. The courage itself may be in form of prayer or blessing. It emerges the image that the main character comes to his loved ones exactly before he is deployed in the

war to ask such “courage”. However, speaking of the war that the main character is

going to fight in, the researcher does not find any clue that refers to the “carnage”. As Matt Sanders said that the song is written as a tribute to his friends who serve

the military, the researcher still did not find any actual event that may be hidden behind the lyrics. It seems that Matt Sanders creates an imaginary war which is

inspired by his friends’ story.

The Second Stanza

The fighting rages on and on

To challenge me you must be strong

I walk your land, but don’t belong Two million soldiers can’t be wrong

The second stanza consists of four lines which can be called as quatrain. It portrays the confidence of the soldier who becomes the main character of the lyrics

in the war. It appears that God answers the soldier’s prayer for courage and strength written in the previous stanza. In this stanza, the main character experiences his first

contact with the enemy during the war. Further, this contact involves shooting from

both sides depicted in the first line “The fighting rages on and on”. It is a fierce

battle as the word “rage” is used to explain the fighting itself. Even though the battle

is described as fiery, it seems that the main character is ready to take more. The evidence is written in the second line which says “To challenge me you must be


in the first stanza. The word “you” refers to the enemy forces he fights. Further, the second line means that the enemy forces need to be more violent and brutal in order

to challenge the main character’s physical and psychological strengths.

The third line reveals that the main character’s side invades other country.

However, the objective is not to colonize to country, but it has other purpose. The

words “I walk your land” give a direct meaning that the main character is in other

people’s land or country. While, the words “but don’t belong” suggest that his

objective is not to own the country or colonize the country. It means that the invasion is not for economic reason, but there is a hidden agenda behind that. There

is a clue in the eighth stanza. However, it could not help to reveal the hidden agenda. Since the song focuses on one particular person, the researcher thinks that Matt Shadows does not write that matter on purpose. The proof that the hidden agenda

is unimportant for the main character is written on the fourth line which becomes the last line for this stanza. It says, “Two million soldiers can’t be wrong”. It means

that the main character’s side deploys a massive military forces to invade a country. Then, the main character thinks that it should be for a good reason to deploy so many soldiers on a single invasion. Here, the courage of the main character can be

seen from the fourth stanza which states that “two million” soldiers are deployed

together with him. Furthermore, the words “can’t be wrong” explain that the main

character has his courage because he fights along with many soldiers on his side.

The Third Stanza

It’s no fun but I’ve been here before

I’m far from home and I’m fighting your war


Some are scared, others killing for fun I shot a mother right in front of her son

(Take this from my consciousness and please erase my dreams)

The third stanza is classified as sestet since it consists of six lines. This stanza tells about the main character’s thought about the war. The first line says

“It’s no fun but I’ve been here before”. “It’s no fun” means that the main character

sees the war as a part of his job being a soldier. This line also reveals that the main character has already experienced war. It is depicted in the words “I’ve been here

before” in which, the use of word “here” refers to the war. The fact that the main character has already tasted a war giving clearer understanding about the second

line of the second stanza. Hence, it can be said that the main character is an experienced soldier. On the other side, he is not a war-addict who sees a war as a

game to play and enjoy the killing. It means that the main character serves the war due to conscription policy applied in the United States. Moreover, the main character thinks that the war is unnecessary, but he should obey the higher order.

This explains the words “I’m fighting your war” which are written in the second line. While, the words “I’m far from home” lead to an imagination that the main

character fights in a war located in a country far away from his country. This line also reveals that the main character has courage which can be seen from he fights in the war that do not belong to his. Therefore, the main character probably fights

in other country’s war. This idea is strengthened by the third line of the second

stanza, “I walk your land but don’t belong”.


current war. The main character imagines that the current war is similar to his previous war. Therefore, it leads to an imagination that the main character fights for

a good purpose. However, he faces the different situation in the current war as written “not the way I pictured this”. In other words, the current war is against his

conscience. The words also give another clue about his bad feelings in the first stanza. Further, he also wants to make things better by joining the war as written “I wanted better things”.

The next line portrays about the soldiers who involved in the war. Matt Sanders symbolizes them into two groups as “scared” and “killing for fun”. The

“scared” ones are those who are not ready to see the reality of the war. They are

fresh soldiers who have no experience in combat. While, the “killing for fun”

symbolizes those who are easy with their guns, see the war as a game, and maniacs.

In short, the “killing for fun” sides are war addicts. Even though the main character

is a veteran who already tasted war, it does not make him kill people easily. Thus,

the researcher classifies him into the “scared” one. It can be seen from how the main character sees the war which is an obligation since he is a conscript.

However, this stanza also tells that the main character does something

wrong. To be precise, it is mentioned in fifth line, “I shot a mother right in front of

her son”. The researcher sees this action as cruel and unforgiven. Killing a mother

right in front of her son may cause trauma to the son even though, there are possibilities that drive the main character to kill a woman. The first possibility is


brutal war he faces. The researcher looks upon the sixth line to discover the reason

behind the main character’s action. It says “take this from my consciousness and

please erase my dreams”. It shows that the main character is completely on his

sanity when he kills the woman. He does not want to be haunted by the images

when he kills the woman because he knows that he has done something wrong. Thus, it is revealed that the main character kills the woman because she may cause harm to the soldier and he should kill her before she does any harm. The researcher

sees this action of killing woman in front of her son as an act of courage portrayed by the main character.

The Fourth Stanza

Fight for honor, fight for your life Pray to God that our side is right Although we won, I still may lose Until I make it home to you

I see our mothers filled with tears,

Grew up so fast where did those years go?

Memories won’t let you cry

Unless I don’t return tonight

The fourth stanza is the refrain of “M.I.A.”. It is also the longest stanza in

the song which consists of eight lines. Thus, it is an octave. It tells about the reason of the main character to fight in the war. The researcher sees the reason as the reason

to fight as a soldier and as an individual human being. The first reason is honor which is defined by the main character as a soldier. The main character fights along with other brave soldiers who may lose their lives in the war. Therefore, he does

not want to be the one who is afraid of killing or being killed. The second reason is life. Here, the main character fights to survive the war and return to his country


life”. Further, the main character sees that fighting for his honor and life is not

enough. Therefore, he prays to the God to show that he fights for the right thing as

seen in the second line. This stanza also reveals the definition of victory by the main character. He defines it as returning to his family alive, not only by winning the

battle. This idea can be seen from the third and fourth line, “Although we won, I

still may lose/Until I make it home to you”.

After he defines that he should return to his country alive to win the war,

the main character sees the image of those he left for war. It is depicted in the fifth

line, “I see our mother filled with tears”. This line also reveals that mothers let their

sons go to war without knowing if their sons return home alive or dead. The words

“our mothers” reveal that the main character probably shares this image to other

soldiers. He also shares that the time flies so fast so that he cannot remember every precious moment he spent with his family as written in the sixth line, “Grew up so fast where did those years go?”. Moreover, the main character does not want his

loved ones, especially his mother to cry because of the memories of the moments

they spent together as seen in the seventh line, “Memories won’t let you cry”.

Despite all the possibilities that the main character can be killed in action, he shows that he is strong by trying to calm his loved ones. In other words, this line also

shows the main character’s courage as an ordinary person, not a soldier. However,

the main character stays realistic that he may be killed in the war as written in the

eighth line, “Unless I don’t return tonight”.

The Fifth Stanza

So many soldiers on the other side,


(Scared to make it out alive now, murder’s all I know)

Nobody tells me all the reasons we’re here I have my weapon so there’s nothing to fear

(Another day, another life, but nothing real to show for)

The fifth stanza has a similar structure to the third stanza. It consists of sixth stanza in which two lines are written in parentheses. It portrays the main character in killing his enemies. Here, the main character faces a large number of enemies. It

is shown in the first line, “So many soldiers on the other side”. The words “other

side” clearly mean enemy forces. Then, the second line reveals that the main

character kills the enemy in order to stay alive. It says “I take their lives so they

can’t take mine”. The first two lines of the fifth stanza show another act of courage

done by the main character. However, the main character is scared despite all the

killing he did as depicted in the third line, “Scared to make it out alive now,

murder’s all I know”. Here, the main character is afraid of being killed by the

enemy, but he wants to come home alive as revealed in the fifth stanza. Thus, the only way to be able to come home alive is that killing the enemies he confronts.

Speaking of the background of the war, the main character thinks that he

should know the whole reasons why he is deployed in the war that may take his life.

This is written in the fourth line, “Nobody tells me all the reasons we’re here”.

Later, the reasons become unimportant since the main character fights for his own life. The only thing that matters to the main character now is the weapon which he

carries to keep him alive as written in the fifth stanza, “I have my weapon so there’s

nothing to fear”. Further, by having a weapon, the main character has nothing to be

afraid of, even death. The main character has the tool to keep him away from the


character does not want to be remembered as a killer. Specifically, he does not want

to be remembered that way in “another life” which is written in the last line. Another

life means the main character’s life as a civilian in his country. Then, “Another day”

means the day when he lives after the war. “But nothing real to show for” suggests

the whole story of the war he serves which includes the killing he did. It shows that

the main character’s courage has bad consequences. It leads to an idea that the main

character only wants to be remembered as a brave and courageous soldier.

The Sixth Stanza

Fight for honor, fight for your life Pray to God that our side is right Although we won, I still may lose Until I make it home to you

I see our mothers filled with tears,

Grew up so fast where did those years go?

Memories won’t let you cry

Unless I don’t return tonight

The sixth stanza repeats what happens in the fourth stanza. It shows that the main character fights for his honor as a soldier. He fights together with his fellow teammates in the war. It means that they fight to keep their teammates alive while

achieving their mission objectives. The main character has pride that he should do the same as his teammates. Besides, the main character fights for his life in order to

return to his home alive and reunite with his loved ones. In short, the stanza repetition which is shown in the sixth stanza strengthens the idea that the main character fights for his honor and his life. His family becomes the source of his

courage to stay alive in the cruel war.

The Seventh Stanza


Living another day in disguise

These feelings can’t be right,

Lend me your courage to stand up and fight

The seventh stanza is similar to the first stanza, except the words “tonight”

and “stand up and fight” in the last line. Unlike the first stanza which consists of

six lines, the seventh stanza consists of four lines which is called quatrain. It

presents the main character’s thought about the war. It seems that he is tired about

killing business and wishes he does no more killing. However, he is still in the

middle of the war. Thus, the act of killing cannot be avoided and he knows that. Once again, the feelings that bother the main character emerge in his mind, but there

is no clear explanation about what kind of feelings that bother him. Instead of being stuck with the unpleasant feelings, he continues to fight. At this point, the main

character still has his courage and asks for more. Thus, the sense of courage is still presented in this stanza.

The Eighth Stanza

Watching the death toll rise, wondering how I’m alive Strangers blood on my hand, shot all I can

There were no silent nights watching your brothers all die To destroy all their plans with no thought of me

(No thought of me) No thought of me

This stanza consists of six lines which can be called as sestet. It presents an event or a single battle that is faced by the main character. Here, the battle is shown as brutal and bloody fight. It is referred from the use of the phrase “Watching the

death toll rise” in the first line. This phrase clearly depicts that the war takes

casualties from the main character’s side as well as the enemy side. Further, the first


lies on the seventh stanza; he asks for courage as shown in the last line. This courage makes him able to kill the enemy soldiers. The act of killing can be seen from the

second line, “Strangers blood on my hand, shot all I can”. This line also shows the

main character as a killer. It is strengthened by the phrase “shot all I can”. It means

that the main character kills every enemy soldier he can see. Moreover, there is no statement that indicates regret felt by the main character for killing other human being.

As stated earlier that the battle takes casualties from both sides, the third line shows that the main character loses his teammates in the firefight. His

teammates, are referred by the word “brothers”. As the word “brother” is commonly

associated to a family member, it seems that there is an emotional bond between

the main character and his fellow teammates. The researcher thinks that this bond is acquired from the good and the bad things experienced together. Further, as the third line shows that his “brothers” are died, the main character seems not affected

by this condition. Normally, people mourn for their loved ones who died, but not

with the main character in “M.I.A.”. He does not have time for mourning as “There

were no silent nights watching your brothers all die”. Instead of mourning for his

“brothers”, the main character focuses on what makes him fight in the war. The

fourth line reveals the purpose of the main character in the war. It is “To destroy all

their plans”. It means that the main character has purpose to destroy the enemy’s

plans to prevent something bad. Unfortunately, there is no further explanation about