Woody Guthrie's 'This Land Is Your Land'

Improved Essays
Is this land our land? In Woody Guthrie’s poem, “This Land Is Your Land,” the tone is set to be a joyful song, but the tone twists towards the end. As I read, I interpreted the poem in the tone of joy which transforms into disillusion when the speaker questions, “Is this land made for you and me?” (Guthrie line 24). Reading Guthrie’s poem, I came to the conclusion that because of all the hardships America went through in the 1930s, the American dream is not for everyone regardless of one’s hopes.
Woody Guthrie is known as a “folk singer, composer, writer, and a homegrown radical… during the Great Depression” (“Woody Guthrie”). During his career, he wrote “This Land Is Your Land,” a poem that reflects Guthrie’s view of the hardships America was undergoing. Guthrie was born in Oklahoma in 1912; he was one of the many Dust-Bowl refugees during the 1930s. As a
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Being fairly young, I could not interpret the lyrics; to me it was a joyful and patriotic song. Furthermore, as a young adult I can now interpret the lyrics and convey the meaning behind this poem. The poem starts in a joyful tone with the speaker stating, “this land was made for you and me” at the end of the first four stanzas (Guthrie 4). Guthrie uses imagery such as “endless skyway,” “golden valley,” and “diamond deserts” to give the reader a beautiful joyful image of what there is awaiting in the journey (Guthrie 6, 7, 10). Towards the end it changes tone to disappointment. Guthrie shows disappointment by stating, “Is this land made for you and me?” (Guthrie 24). I now see this poem as a disillusion Guthrie had about America. I start to realize how Guthrie portrays disillusion throughout the poem by demonstrating how he had high hopes about this land in the beginning, but he then becomes disappointed towards the end when he realizes that America isn’t for everyone regardless of one’s

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