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Rhetoric of Protest Songs

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Rhetoric of Protest Songs

Rhetoric of the protest songs has a very extensive history. The oldest protest song on record is "The Cutty Wren" from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 against feudal oppression, nearly six hundred years ago (Songs of Work and Protest 9). Protest music has developed over the years and has made its presence in history. The protest music of Vietnam War is the concentration of this paper. The two main artists of focus are Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Their songs will be analyzed and criticized naritively.

Bob Dylan was one of the most influential musicians of the time. Dylan was born in the fine town of Duluth, Minnesota on May 24, 1941. He grew up in Hibbing, "My life in a stolen minute, " Dylan wrote, "Hibbing’s a good ol’ town. I ran away from it when I was ten, twelve, thirteen, fifteen, fifteen and a half, seventeen an’ eighteen. I been caught an’ brought back all but once."(Dylan Songs 12). He taught himself how to play the guitar, piano, autoharp, and harmonica. Throughout his experiences he absorbed many different styles of music. "Open up your eyes an’ ears an’ yer influenced an’ there’s nothing you can do about it . . . I just seem to draw into myself whatever comes my way and it comes out me."(12) He graduated from high school in Hibbing and attended the University of Minnesota for about six months than left for New York and began writing comical-satirical talking blues songs. Next, he moved into a deeper view, of the world through his protest music. Later in his career he entered the integration movement with the song "Blowin in the Wind". His biography can be told through his songs, they have always reflected his thoughts, emotions, and life.

Dylan’s lyrics not only express hi...

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...as the highest of ethic values, the ideals that we hope to reach one day. The song inspired many people and gave them hope. Lennon will always be remembered for his inspirational and idealistic music that changed the way the world looked at things.

Together these two songs had a great impact on the peoples views toward the war. The reflected the thoughts of some and inspired others. In different ways they both contributed to helping bring Vietnam to an end by inspiring protesters and soldiers.

Bibliography:

Fowke Edith and Glazer, Joe. Songs of Work and Protest. Dover Publications, Inc., New York. 1973.

Stewart Chuck. Dylan Songs. Witmark and Sons. 1973

Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc. 1995.

The Legend of John Lennon

http://www.legend-johnlennon.com/

Thompson, Michael. "John Lennon." Rolling Stone June 1971: 62-70.
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