Conclusion: "It's the Hard-Knock Life"

The song, "It's the Hard-Knock Life," although a depressing song in its lyrics about how the girls are oppressed and unloved, empowers the girls through its performance. The girls understand where they stand, and they are ready to stand up for themselves even as they "want to throw the towel in" knowing "it's easier than putting up a fight." Still, they fight. The girls deal with the lot they've been handed, but they recognize that it shouldn't be this way. They know they shouldn't be "tricked" and "kicked," in the same way they know they should have warmer blankets and more food. Unfortunately their revolts result in further misogyny. They see Miss Hannigan as their oppressor, so they want to "yank the whiskers from her chin, jab her with a safety pin, make her drink a mickey fin," instead of looking elsewhere for a fight. At the start of this song the supradiegetic music is most clearly started by the girls. Annie starts the music when she stomps on Miss Hannigan's foot, itself an act of defiance. Then the girls enjoy themselves. They know that fun should not be cleaning the dishes and sewing, but they, like many women in society, had been told that this is their lot. In the same way, the girls who watched this movie may have recognized some of the flaws in the movie, but it was what the girls could do with it that was important. They saw the positive elements and had as much fun with it as they could. They saw the chance to gain power through their own performances, and using their bodies and voices they took center stage creating their own storyline.

Work Cited

by Abby Manzella, American Studies at the University of Virginia, May 2002