How Nirvana’s ‘Polly’ Takes Listeners Inside a Rapist’s Mind In Order to Show the Depravity of Sexual Assault

In an incredibly elucidating essay, vlogger Evan Puschak, aka The Nerdwriter, examines the 1991 Nirvana song “Polly” from their breakout album Nevermind. The song, despite its musical simplicity, is incredibly complex, as listeners are led directly into the mind of an attacking rapist and was based upon a tragic situation in which the unironically named serial rapist Gerald Friend attacked a helpless 14-year old girl with a blowtorch at his Tacoma mobile home.

Frontman Kurt Cobain, a lifelong feminist, wrote the song in order to bring awareness to the depravity of rape, stating to NME in 1991 that women shouldn’t have to be taught to defend themselves, instead men should be taught not to rape.

Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.