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Historical Analysis Of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin”

892 words - 4 pages

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin” is a unique song that was written in the early 1960’s during a time of political and military upheaval. The poem/song was written to influence the younger generation, and to serve as a rallying call for the people to come together to bring about a needed change. The civil rights movement was the main influence of the song but it can also be applied to the frustration, and anger the American people felt as a whole towards the Vietnam War. What truly makes the song unique is the way the song was written and its hypnotic verses that can be used to describe several different time periods where the people needed a rallying call for change. The most recent event being the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The Times They Are A-Changin” is a timeless song due to the way it was written, sources of influence, and the portrayed meaning it conveyed to the masses.
Bob Dylan wrote the poem “The Times They Are A-Changin” to be a rallying call for the early 1960’s. He purposely wrote the song with short concise verses in order to make the song hypnotic, and to get the populace to listen to what he was saying. In an interview with Cameron Crowe, Bob Dylan said “This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced … by the Irish and Scottish ballads. I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way”(Dylan). The short concise verses and the way they build up is what really makes the song timeless. “If your time to you is worth savin’, Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, For the times they are a-changin’”(Dylan). Its clear that Bob Dylan had a message that he felt was important to get across to the masses. His goal was for more than a few people to like the song but for the whole country at the time to open their eyes and become an instrument for the change that he said was coming.

While the flow of the song may have been influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads the true real life influence was the civil rights movement of the early 1960’s. African Americans were facing unfair treatment, disenfranchisement, and various forms of oppression throughout the United States. During this time many people rose to prominence to include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and Malcom X. There are several verses within the poem that can easily be attributed to the ongoing struggle that the African Americans were facing, and that times would be changing. “For the loser now will be later...

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