Rhetorical Analysis of “Hurricane”

2167 Words Sep 23rd, 2012 9 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis of “Hurricane”

Martin Luther King once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political, but because it is right.” The song “Hurricane”, written by Bob Dylan takes a stand and ignores what was safe, popular, and politically right during the 1960’s and 1970’s, in order to paint a picture of injustice. Dylan organizes the actual events of a man named Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who was a middleweight boxer wrongfully accused and convicted of a double homicide. Dylan narrates the song and uses his credibility as a rock star to reason with a broader audience, while evoking the emotions of listeners by describing horrific events, prejudice, and
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The judge made Rubin's witnesses drunkards from the slums. To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum and to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger. No one doubted that he pulled the trigger. And though they could not produce the gun, the D.A. said he was the one who did the deed and the all-white jury agreed.” In this verse Dylan is making a point that not only were the Patterson police trying to make an example out of Hurricane but also the D.A. and the overseeing judge. Keep in mind that during 1966 the United States was in the midst of a historical transition as just two years earlier President Lyndon B. Johnson had signed the Civil Rights Act outlawing all forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation. The act created serious tension among whites and blacks as a majority of whites refused to accept the change and the blacks were free to fight back against those who refused. In the end the tension provoked many hostile riots and fights to breakout all over the U.S. The year 1966 also marked the start of the Black Power movement, which was maintained until the 1970’s. The movement brought together black collective interest that consisted of racial pride, political goals, establishment of other social institutions, and most importantly a continued defense against racial oppression.

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