One of the most influential singers ever, Bob Dylan still fascinates us with his weird voice and his mysterious. Born after a generation of poets such as Jack Kerouac or musicians as Woodie Guthrie, he managed to capture the spirit of a generation and to grasp the essence of his ancestors. A hard rain is a gonna fall gives us a striking example of a song difficult to interpret. How are we supposed to understand such enigmatic lyrics? The answer lies in the close study of the words themselves mirrored in Bob Dylan’s mind. The song was written at a time of turmoil, in a generation tormented by the war taking place in Vietnam and by the refusal they opposed to the government of Lyndon Johnson. Let’s focus on the first paragraph: The singer addresses to a young blue eyed son. What comes through our mind is the innocence conveyed by the color blue. We might picture an interlocutor who comes back home after a long journey. The person seems to be loved by the singer who welcomes him back “my darling young one”. The narrator cites the various challenges and hard times that the young boy has been through: reading the song, we might indeed words referring to trials “I’ve stumbled”, to difficulties on “crooked highways” which must have taken him away from the righteous path. He also had encountered death a number of times “dozen dead oceans” and “the mouth of a graveyard”. We can not but wonder of such difficulties for such a young man. I guess that he must have realized how difficult life can turn out to be and that we had to go through hurdles. The older narrator seems to warn him about a forthcoming danger referred as “ a hard rain”. In the second stanza, the narrator focuses his interest on what the boy has seen. In the stanza we have many references to dangers especially in the hands of innocent people such as babies. We can not but shiver at the images of blood which are recurrent in the passage. Empty highways covered with diamonds, trees bleeding, people who want to talk and whose voices are reduced to silence, our society seems to neglect what is important. The only way out, possible to heaven would be to heaven, thanks to the white ladder but it’s unfortunately covered in water, so inaccessible. Again in the next paragraph, people’s indifference is stresses as people dying of hunger are left alone. A catastrophe may even be coming as the sound of thunder can be heard like a stressful warning. The image of the sad clown and of the poet whose voices are forgotten is very sad indeed. The feeling of sadness is getting stronger and stronger with the evocation of the dead pony, each little girl’s dream, and the young woman whose body was burning. Might it be a reference to the Vietnam War and Denise Chong, whom we could see running away after an attack on her village? The metaphors of sufferings with “wounded” indicate a pain that the singer can’t get rid of. A little glimpse of hope would be the reference to the colorful rainbow given by an innocent girl. There are oppositions between black and white as differences that are noticeable in our society. In the last paragraph, the singer is wondering about the future and may want to begin an initiatory journey thanks to which the singer is going to his roots by going into a forest. He will face all the dangers possible “ a falling forest, pellets of poison, black forest, the damp dirty prison an executioner’s face, souls are forgotten…” he is even ready to wait until the end of his life, until he sinks into the ocean, like a prophet. A strange song indeed, with mysterious lyrics whose meaning is not easy to decipher; we cannot but make suppositions about its true signification. From some of his interviews, we gather that Bob Dylan didn’t speak about a forthcoming nuclear war but more about the indifference that paralyses our society. As a committed singer, his mission is to make people open their eyes, did he succeed in making ours as well?

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