Rizzo’s pretty great at choosing metaphors…

Although I rarely dared to phone her at home, I did bravely ask to visit her in the hospital, and she gave me directions to her room in St. Catherine’s. [At that time she did not tell her students why she needed surgery. Years later I learned that an ovarian tumor had to be removed.] When I visited her, I took her a library copy of a book I admired by Jan Struther, not foreseeing that it would become a nuisance for her to return, as she explains when she writes about it.

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Here again, some usually unnoticed treasure, in the powerful alliteration of, as each successive line climbs musically higher and higher to the climax.


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By simple serendipity I took the test for attending Hunter College High School. As a seventh and eighth grader at P.S. 69 I hoped to become an artist. I had heard of the entrance exam for the High School of Music and Art but did not meet the first requirement for taking the examination. I needed a recommendation from my school’s art teacher. She refused. My talent wasn’t impressive enough. My English teacher eased my disappointment by offering to sponsor me for the HCHS examination.


‘Cause those chords remind me of

Poor even rhymes (unnoticed) with and ... The bridge is loaded with long and long sounds, in an ABCABC rhyme scheme, with a close interior rhyme at the end, in and :

The night that I first feel in love

And again, we can see Jacobs and Casey’s lyric writing craft here, as they effortlessly spin out multiple internal rhymes without ever disrupting a line or thought:

A melody that’s never the same,

Tim Riley argues in that early rock and roll delievered a powerful message to its listeners: "The challenge of building an original identity, rather than accepting a received identity predicated on the values of their parents, became a necessary life passage." Like all the best theatre songs, Sandy makes a in the "Sandra Dee" reprise, and the plot takes a turn toward its final destination. Sandy must decide who she is and what she values; she must embrace of who she is, including her sexuality. She now realizes that only when she is true to herself can she be happy with Danny, and this final revelation will lead us to the show’s rowdy, playful finale "All Choked Up" (sadly replaced in the film by the less carnal disco number "You're the One That I Want").

A melody that’s calling your name

"Worse Things" segues directly to its companion piece, Sandy's parallel self-evaluation, the reprise of "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," in which Sandy finally sees and accepts the truth in Rizzo’s metaphor, finally recognizing that she must reject artificial values imposed by othersand find her own way. But Sandy only comes to this realization because "Worse Things" opened her up to the idea of authenticity as a fundamental value; now she can act on that newfound wisdom in her reprise (just like in all the ancient hero myths).

And affectionately yours! R.S.L.

Structurally, this song links these two women. In each of the three verses, Rizzo attacks Sandy for her perceived sins – being a tease (leading Danny on but not delivering), being self-pitying (most notably in "Raining on Prom Night"), and being judgmental (in the scene leading up to the song). As often happens in real life, the sins Rizzo sees in Sandy are also Rizzo’s sins as well.