Bob Dylan’s song, The Hurricane, brings to surface several of the themes covered in class this semester. The song explores general themes like community and responsibility, while also focusing on many of the sub-themes, such as justice and injustice, appearance and reality, and loyalty and abandonment. Throughout the song, the main characters constantly battle with the above themes in attempt to frame an innocent man. While the song brings up many of these themes, Dylan’s characters show little consistency with the texts covered, as the texts tend to try to find reconciliation in the characters, while Dylan’s characters feel no remorse in their actions.
The song starts as “Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night,” and the manager arrives to see the bartender in a pool of blood. “Here comes the story of the hurricane,/ The man the authorities came to blame/ for somethin’ that he never done,” Dylan continues. The hurricane is an up-and-coming middleweight boxer by the name of Rubin Carter. The song details his wrongful imprisonment, and exposes the injustice and irresponsibility of a community in Paterson, New Jersey.
The bar’s manager, Patty Valentine, acts as an enabler for this irresponsibility, allowing it to continue although she knows it is most likely not the truth. “Three bodies lyin’ there does Patty see/ And another man named Bello movin’ around mysteriously./ I didn’t do it, he says, and he throws up his hands/ I was only robbin’ the register, I hope you understand.” When Patty calls the police, they
“arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin’,…Alfred Bello had a partner and a rap for the cops./ Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prolin’ around/ He said, I saw two men runnin’ out, they looked like middleweights,/ and they jumped in a car with out-of-state plates./ And miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head.”
By simply nodding her head and not speaking out to the fact that she found Bello and Dexter Bradley standing over the dead bodies, claiming they were only robbing the register, Miss Valentine denies her responsibility to the community to rightfully account for what she believes to have occurred. While this may benefit her personally, as she will keep her loyal customers, it is an injustice to the community. Instead of making the right decision, she chooses to hold her responsibility to her white customers.
This is similar to Victor Frankenstein’s dilemma over to whom he should hold his responsibility. While on one hand, creating another monster would hold responsibility to his unnatural creation, he has a responsibility to the community to prevent these monsters from breeding and wreaking further havoc upon the community. Fortunately, in the novel, Victor upholds his responsibility to the community, and denies the monster’s demand for a...