The Times They Are a Changin

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Bob Dylan’s, ”The Times They Are A-Changin” is an anthem for the oppressed, down-trodden young people, while warning that oppressors and abusers will be victims of their own actions. In the beginning of the poem, Dylan speaks to everyone and talks of the change coming from young people who feel that laws from the government and mom and dad’s rules are smothering. He emphasizes “everyone” by using water to help the reader visualize how complete the wave of change will surround people. He then uses the water in a sink or swim analogy illustrating the direness of the situation.

Throughout the poem, he shows the extent and gives examples of who will be affected. Although he draws class lines and social standings, the opportunity to change along with the times is always present. Dylan points specifically to “senators, congressmen,” ”mothers and fathers,” because they have the most influence on America’s youth.

Dylan calls on the American government to “Please heed the call’ which shows that in the beginning, respect and persuasion will be used. The next two lines begin “Don’t” which indicates a stronger will and mind set. “For he that gets hurt/Will be he who is stalled,” illustrates that if there is resistance to young people’s ideas against the war in Vietnam, the idea of free love and the distaste for accepted social structures, that peace may not be an option. Dylan goes as far as to say “There’s a battle outside/And its ragin/it’ll soon shake your windows/and rattle your walls.” These stanzas are not literal in the sense of war, but lends emphasis to the will of the revolutionist’s idea. Change will come; the battle is seen between good and bad, yin and yang. Although blood will not be shed, politicians, judges, and other elected officials will be removed from office.

An argument that the...
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