Dust Bowl Refugee Poem Analysis

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“Dust Bowl Refugee” is a native, Anglo-American protest song written by Woody Guthrie in 1938 (Song Timeline) and also performed by him in 1940 and released on Victor-26623 (Online Discography Project), the recording of which was done by Alan Lomax. The song describes, in first person, the hardships of settlers in the section of the United States known as the Dust Bowl, as well as the struggles they faced in fleeing the region and trying to establish new homes in places such as California. This is certainly an appropriate song for discussing the class and social identity of a Southern community affected by migration, because although, the Southern identity is not directly referenced, numerous Southerners who migrated into these areas experienced the phenomena…show more content…
Whether the identity of this specific community is embodied in the musical style is unclear. However, the style does embody some form of Southern identity, from Guthrie’s bouncy speech pattern, full of pronunciations common to Southern dialects, such as the placing of A as a prefix syllable before verbs, and the tendency to not pronounce the g on the end of present-tense verbs ending with ing, for example, the present tense verb killing being rendered as A-killin’. Regardless, it appears that one thing is constant in the lives of Dust Bowl migrants, at least through the lens of this song. Their lives are filled with constant struggle, no matter where they

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