“Lament for Joe Hall” Analysis

This audio piece, “Lament for Joe Hall” is put together chronologically, though “Joe” is telling the story after the main events have already passed. The author used several different techniques to maximize the effect of the audio. The use of the child’s voice, and making the dialogue from Joe’s point of view was particularly influential. To hear a child talk about white supremacy, and the abuse their family had suffered, and the thoughts going through their mind as they commit murder is a highly unusual experience a person can have, and it definitely engages the audience. The background sounds also accompanied the vocal track well. Music played often to show a shift in the narration. The use of the “white power” recording was also very jarring—to think that people like that exist, let alone that they’re entrusted with the wellbeing of children, is something that the audience would most likely find disturbing. Rather than having Joe describe the hate of his father, but actually playing a recording of what he may have sounded like, maximizes the effect. The use of the dogs howling in the background while Joe and his father were patrolling the Mexican border was also symbolistic of the narration—essentially, they were hunting people. At the climax of the piece, when Joe is killing his father, the narration slows down and the background sounds are quieted. This creates apprehension in the audience, and the tension rises as Joe approaches his father with the gun. They also circled it back around nicely to the irony of the fact that Joe’s father had taught him how to use a gun, and it was this knowledge that allowed him to kill his father in the end.

In my piece, I will use some of the effects that were used in “Joe Hall”. I liked the creepiness of the white noise that played in the background, and since my piece will have a similar mood, I might use this technique. I also enjoyed when the creator mixed up the steady narration by putting in other forms of audio, like the white power recording, and the 911 call. I also like the slowing of the narration to increase suspense, and the fact that the story was told as if it was happening, and from the point of view of the person it was happening too. I think it put more feeling into the piece and made it more interesting.


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