Brother, Can You Spare A Dime

888 Words4 Pages
The lyrics to “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” was written by Yip Harburg, and the music was by Jay Gorney. The song was written during the great depression in 1931. The song expresses the emotions during the great depression. The song has been sung by several artists and each one sings the song a little different. Tom Waits, Abbey Lincoln, and Yip Harburg all sung the song “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” and each singer expresses the song differently. “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” was written during the depression and expresses the economic struggle people had. The song had many symbolic meanings within the lyrics. The words “I was building a dream” was talking about how people built an American dream that is a fantasy. The lyrics “Once I built a railroad” and “Once I built a tower” are both referring to the American dream people had to build and industrialize. People would come to America to get a job and live a great life. The word “bread” in the song represents money and a sense of hope. Another symbol in the song is the lyrics “Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell”, which represents the Army and war. The word “drum!” in the song is a metaphor for the Harburg saying he is beating the drum. By explaining the symbolism in the song the true meaning can be heard. People lived in America to “build a dream”, and they worked hard building railroads and towers. Once all the labor of building was done, the economy collapsed, and people found themselves struggling for
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