Friday, August 30, 2019

Depth Analysis on the protest Songs of Bob Dylan Essay

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is the second album released by Dylan in 1963. This album launched his career as a songwriter, and helped him gain notoriety within in the folk community. The album features many songs written by Dylan himself, as opposed to his first album that included many covers. The album covers a wide range of topics from Civil Rights, to Vietnam. Dylan becomes labeled as a topical songwriter after the release of Freewheelin’, discussing social and political issues through a surrealist’s point of view. The album contains several classic Dylan songs such as â€Å"Blowin’ in the Wind†, and â€Å"Masters of War†. Dylan’s style becomes very influential in this period, sparking new folk groups such as Peter, Paul & Mary and inspiring many songs from The Beatle’s Help! album. The success of Freewheelin,’ labeled Dylan as the â€Å"voice of a generation†, and as one of the greatest lyricists of all time. The first song presented on the album is â€Å"Blowin’ in the Wind†, one of Dylan’s most famous songs. The song poses a number of questions to the audience. Dylan breaks his stanzas into concise topics. For example the first stanza in â€Å"Blowin’ in the Wind† is directed more towards an antiwar ideology. Although the Vietnam war was not in full swing until a few years after the song was composed it was still used as the anthem of the antiwar movement which shows that Dylan is not only a timely writer but also a timeless one as well. Dylan begins the stanza with one of his most iconic lyrics, â€Å"how many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?† Dylan’s simple yet meaningful diction questions the audience of their morality in preparation of the topics he is going to discuss in the following verses. Dylan then symbolizes the image of peace with a dove that must travel many seas â€Å"†¦before she sleeps in the sand†. In this line Dylan inquires nations about the irresistible urge for war among nations in the twentieth century. Dylan then says, â€Å"how many times must the cannon balls fly, before they are forever banned?†. This is clearly a reference to the war, and Dylan’s personal opposition towards it. Just after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, Dylan’s second album was released. Dylan clearly dedicates the second stanza of â€Å"Blowin’ in the Wind† to the Civil Rights Movement. Dylan begins the stanza with â€Å"how many years can a mountain exist, before it is washed to the sea?†. In this part Dylan uses the metaphor of the mountain crumbling into the sea, as an illustration of the idea that nothing lasts forever. The next line then states, â€Å"how many years can some people exist, before they are allowed to be free?†. Dylan challenges the ethics of civil rights and asks his audience whether or not freedom is truly attainable for all beings in the United States. The word choice in this line is significant as well, because it does not isolate one race or creed specifically, however it is left as an abstract thought so that the audience can fill it in, which is another reason why this song is everlasting. The following line speaks in regards to the blind ignorance that occurs in society, especially during the early sixties towards African Americans. Dylan is distraught with society ‘turning their backs’ against African Americans in the United States and treating them unfairly. In the liner notes of the album Dylan says, â€Å"†¦some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and they know it’s wrong†. The final stanza in the song ties all of the previous symbols together into a larger metaphysical theme. In the first line of the last stanza, Dylan’s tone is uncertain and questions the idea of a divine being. This sort of realist’s approach to the topics discussed earlier may indicate a general loss of faith during the sixties. Dylan then wraps up with the legendary line â€Å"how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?†. This last line was chosen carefully and leaves the audience with a blunt message, signifying the importance of understanding each other and working together towards peace. Throughout the entirety of the song Dylan tells the audience that the, â€Å"answer is blowing in the wind†. Although Dylan is not known for being optimistic in many of his songs, this iconic refrain carries a deeper meaning. Dylan imposes the idea that a new generation is forming with newer ideas and ideologies, and they are right in front of everyone’s face but they go unnoticed just like the ‘wind’. Another antiwar song featured on the Freewheelin’ album is called, â€Å"Masters of War†. In this song Dylan demonizes the leaders of the country and discusses anti-authoritarian ideals. In the first stanza of the song the narrator gathers all of the ‘masters’ who build the destructive weapons and blatantly calls them a coward. In the second stanza Dylan says, â€Å"you play with my world, like it’s your little toy†. This statement must have been rather threatening to a lot of people in the government at the time, because it shows that the youth understand what is going on and are not in favor of the actions that have been carried out by the leaders of the country. Dylan received inspiration to write this song from President Eisenhower’s farewell address in where he indicated that, â€Å"we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex†. Dylan then cath artically wrote a song against this statement, and engraved the idea that the ‘military industrial complex’ is only big business for government leaders while young people have to die in the war for no benefit. The tone of the song is very straightforward and blunt. In the liner notes, Dylan himself was surprised by the lyrics in the song stating that, â€Å"I don’t sing songs which hope people will die, but I couldn’t help it in this one†. In the third stanza Dylan uses a biblical reference and calls the government officials Judas. Using Judas as a symbol in this song represents lying and deceit. The following line in that stanza is â€Å"a world war can be won, you want me to believe†. This relates to the symbolic image of Judas, in that Dylan is calling on the bureaucrats to tell the truth. Dylan uses another biblical allusion in the song in which he sings, â€Å"even Jesus would never forgive what you do†. Towards the end of the song he sings, â€Å"how much do I know, to talk out of turn† in which Dylan speaks on behalf of the youth of the nation. The last antiwar song on the album is called â€Å"A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall†. Near ly seven minutes in length, Dylan paints a post-apocalyptic image in the audience’s mind. Considered to be one of the most famous protest songs written by Dylan and the second most popular song on the album after â€Å"Blowin’ in the Wind†. The form of the song is inspired by a seventeenth century Scottish ballad entitled â€Å"Lord Randall†. The structure of the song does not entirely make sense of flow very continuously, and that is because in the liner notes of the album Dylan said,† every line in it is actually the start of a whole song. But when I wrote it, I thought I wouldn’t have enough time alive to write all those songs so I put all I could into this on†. Dylan uses strong words and powerful imagery to enrich the pathos experienced by his audience. An example of Dylan’s strong use of pathos is when he sings, â€Å"I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughing†. This song was written in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened the previous year. The ‘hard rain’ is often projected as nuclear war, however Dylan has said many times that he just meant that ‘something bad is going to happen one day’. Dylan’s strong lyrics have created the most influential protest songs of all time. It is hard to imagine that three of them appeared on one album! The Freewheelin’ has been considered one of the greatest albums of all time, and even made it into the top 100 category for the Rolling Stone: Top 500 Albums of All Time. Dylan uses many classic literary devices such as symbolism, allusions, and metaphors to captivate his audience and to create an art form out of his messages. All of Dylan’s songs are timeless; just how â€Å"Masters of War† is relevant during the Vietnam War it is just as timely for the Iraq War and Afghanistan War. Dylan has mastered the craft of songwriting and will forever be known as the voice of our generation.

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