An In-Depth Analysis of Bob Dylan's Protest Songs

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Aryan Azizian
The Poetics of Bob Dylan
Professor James Keane
Final Paper
December 16, 2011
The Freewheelin’:
An in Depth Analysis on the protest Songs of Bob Dylan

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 “Blowin’ in the Wind”, and “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 “voice of a generation”, and as one of the greatest lyricists of all time.

The first song presented on the album is “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 “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, “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 “…before...
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