Dierks Bentley’s song, “My Last Name,” develops a turn from an impersonal narration of the significance of his last name, to a personal address in which he offers his last name to a lover. The turn occurs multiple times throughout the song; from an impersonal to a personal address, from the reader to a person, couplets of changes in situation per stanza, and finally changes in form, from couplets to an irregular rhyme in the turn stanza, all of which tie into the diction chosen by Mr. Bentley. The song follows couplet stanzas in chronological order, expressing the significance of Mr. Bentley’s last name by referencing his childhood, history, lineage, and an important promise to his father which leads to a turn wherein Mr. Bentley proposes to a lover.
The first stanza has a rhyme scheme of “AABB.” This couplet “form” continues throughout the fourth stanza. The situation, a childhood reference to a bully “making fun” of Dierks’ last name and so Dierks “had to hit him,” has an impersonal address as if he is speaking to a general audience. This impersonal voice continues throughout the fourth stanza as well.
The second stanza has a rhyme scheme of “CCDD”. The situation, a history of Mr. Bentley’s last name as his “Grandpa took it off to Europe” in WWII, has an impersonal voice.
The third stanza has a rhyme scheme of “EEBB”. The situation is a realistic overview of the lineage of Mr. Bentley’s last name and its future, as decided by Dierks himself.
The fourth stanza has a rhyme scheme of “FFBB”. The situation is a promise from Dierks to his father to maintain the prestige of their last name by saying, “So keep it how you got it, as solid as it came.” This stanza ends the impersonal voice of Mr. Bentley’s description of the significance of his last name to a greater audience. The song is leading into the “turn” where the speaking voice shifts from being impersonal to colloquial.
The fifth stanza is the beginning of the... [continues]
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