Woodie Guthrie's 'This Land Is Your Land'

Great Essays
American songs are often seen as patriotic and a way different people can come together and sing as one voice, an American voice. This may be true for the first part of “This Land is Your Land” by Woodie Guthrie, but the second part of the song is often left unsung. The first part details how America is for everyone, repeatedly saying “this land was made for you and me” (Guthrie). Essentially, everyone has an equal right to the land in America, as we are all one. There is no oppression, because everyone is an American and deserves the same rights as everyone else. However, the second part of the song points out the struggle that some American’s face in having equal rights. One verse of the song sings “as I went on walking I saw a sign there/ …show more content…
This can be applied to immigrants coming into America, or simply people trying to change social classes. The wealthy in America are very select and unforgiving of people who try to rise up. While this song is saying how everyone has rights in America, it points out how it is contradicting because it is a struggle to truly be equal, or rise up, in America. The same struggle of the wealthy being exclusive and unforgiving of the poor is seen in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby details the struggle some face trying to achieve the American Dream, as the wealthy people in the novel are cruel to those not in their social class. The story is detailed through the eyes of the narrator, Nick, a young man who recently moved to New York to sell bonds. Jay Gatsby, his neighbor, is an extremely wealthy man who worked hard for his money, through bootlegging, but is never truly accepted by the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is actually married to Tom, and they both come from very rich families. However, Tom Buchanan is cheating on Daisy with a lower class woman, Myrtle …show more content…
Scott Fitzgerald argues that the American Dream is dead through the difference in characterization of Tom and George’s wives, Daisy and Myrtle, to truly show the damaging effect the wealthy leave on the poor, making their poverty-stricken lives inescapable. One day, after Tom met Gatsby, Daisy’s old lover, she drove home with Gatsby. She asked to drive home to relieve some stress. Wilson has Myrtle locked in a room upstairs because he has suspicions she was cheating on him and he was going to keep her there until he got the money to have them move west. However, she managed to escape the room and ran out into the road, and then got hit by none other than Daisy. Daisy, scared, kept driving and didn’t look back. Myrtle laid in the road, “Her life violently extinguished, knelt in the road and mingled her thick dark blood with dust… the mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners, as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long” (137). Myrtle and Wilson were poverty stricken and just wanted to find a way out. Myrtle’s life was “extinguished” and dead, like her hopes of chasing the American Dream. It looks as though she “choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long” because her energy was her only chance to leave her poverty behind. Giving that up, it would truly make her dead, thus why she is choking on it, trying to hold it inside her. Daisy running over Myrtle symbolizes how the

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