Blog post 9/13

In Dunlap’s article “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad,” he uses historian Serge Denisoff’s vocabulary to define two types of songs. In one sentence, tell me what these two types of song called and how they are defined. How do you think Dunlap feels about using these two terms to define Dylan’s songs?

16 comments on “Blog post 9/13

  1. Aamina Ahmad says:

    In “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad,” Serge Denisoff explains that while protest songs in the 1930’s were “magnetic” and represented the feelings of ‘the people,’ protest songs in the 1960’s were more individualized and represented one person’s feelings. Although he does not necessarily seem to disagree with Denisoff, I think Dunlap is hesitant to use these terms to describe Bob Dylan’s music. Instead, Dunlap thinks the new generation of folk music “reflected a different worldview.” While the Folk Protest Movement criticized the new generation for its vagueness, it seems as though Dunlap believes Dylan left his songs open for interpretation so that the audience would be challenged to think for themselves. Instead of being told what to do and what to protest against, Dylan wanted his audiences to empathize with the situation and realize on their own what needed to be changed.

  2. Z says:

    In the article “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad”, Serge Denisoff used “magnetic” and “rhetorical” to identify two types of songs. Even though, as the Dunlap mentioned in the opening, Dylan’s song focused on the individualism which seemed to fall in these Serge Denisoff’s catalog, I believed that Dunlap was unlikely to agree with Serge Denisoff completely. Dunlap thought that Dylan’s song emphasized the emotion integration of common men at the early stage. Gradually, with the help of American idealism, his songs realized the unity of human beings as well as fostered the feeling of each individuals. Obviously, Dunlap could not actually use these two term to describe Dylan’s song.

  3. jchun48 says:

    Sociologist R. Serge Denisoff categorizes protest music during the prewar era as “magnetic,” in which the songs demonstrate “collective feelings of unity and ideological power,” and those of the postwar era as “rhetorical,” which expresses subjective emotions. J. Dunlap does not argue the existence of these separate periods; moreover, he tries to give valid support and explanations of the ideological differences between these two generations. For example, Dunlap believes that the younger generation of protest musicians must have had developed a different outlook on the same matter which contrasts the outlook of the older generation. He continues to provide evidence in the next paragraph on page 551, where he explains the “rational and materialistic or orthodox communist-inspired approach” versus “a more idealistic approach.” Also, because Dunlap wants to prove that the source of Dylan’s motivations stemmed from the concept of early American idealism, the article itself must be based on Serge’s terms, “magnetic” and “rhetorical.”

  4. Monica Poleway says:

    The article,”Through the Eyes of Tom Joad,” Serge Denisoff uses two specific words to describe the protest music of singers like Bob Dylan. “Magnetic,” and “rhetorical,” are the words he uses which describe the feelings of the people who listened to Dylan’s music. Which in the beginning of the article states Dylan’s protest music had a wide range of listeners. I believe Dunlap is trying to support Dylan’s music though, it is important to understand Dunlap also seemed to be leaving Dylan’s music open of interpretation by the people who listen to it. Because Dunlap is not Dylan he can not fully interpret what his songs mean only to give an opinion based on his research.

  5. Naeem says:

    Historian Serge Denisoff uses the word “magnetic” to describe folk music from the 1930s and 1940s and the word “rhetorical” to describe the folk music of the 1960s. The word magnetic, in this context, describes the type of music that would attract every age group of people to join in unity and fight the situation with which they were faced; the word rhetorical, in this context, is used to describe the vague, less-meaningful, and individualistic approach to creating protest music. Dunlap, however, argues that these two different approaches to protest music simply give us a different perspective, or point of view, of the world after the war. Dunlap argues that while music from the 30s and 40s focused more on the substance—or the lyrics and meaning—of the song, the music of the 60s was based on the form of the song and the feeling listeners got out of it. Both form and substance were different ways of expressing protest.

  6. Robbie Katz says:

    In the article “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad,” Serge Denisoff uses the word “magnetic” to describe the general and “collective” style of folk music during the 30s and 40s and refers to the post-war generation (60s) as “rhetorical” which expressed “individual feelings.” The magnetic term speaks toward the early folk songs and how they appeal to a larger crowd enticing a feeling of “unity”. On the other hand the later folk songs which were labeled as rhetorical were more focused on a “particular issue” which dealt more with the individual. I feel that Dunlap is reluctant to use these words to describe Dylan’s songs because although Dylan usually used songs to “focus on the unique individuals” they still spoke to large amounts of people who found a way to connect on some level. In this case it seems difficult for Dunlap to classify Dylan’s songs as either “magnetic” or “rhetorical.”

  7. danmann7 says:

    Serge Denisoff uses the word “magnetic” to describe earlier song because they deal more with collective unity and ideological power during economic depression, while he calls newer songs “rhetorical” because they have individual feelings of discontent about specific issues. Dunlap believes that the earlier and newer songs cannot actually be simplified to these two words, but are actually completely different points of view from different points in time based on events that were occurring. He argues that while Denisoff is right that earlier songs offered the “organization of militant trade groups,” Denisoff failed to realize that the new songwriters were advocating for “peaceful change through nonviolent means” (Dunlap 551). Dunlap supports both types of music, saying that while they are different they both have their own merits. Earlier songs take a “communist-inspired” approach while the new songs take an idealistic approach, which were both useful in their own decades in different ways.

  8. Rafe Mosetick says:

    Sociologist Serge Denisoff describes the pre-war protest songs as “magnetic” for it’s sense of “unity and collectiveness,” and he describes the later generations music as “rhetorical” for its individual nature as well as its aimless discontent for issues of the day. Dunlop wouldn’t necessarily disagree with Serge Denisoff’s two words to define Bob Dylan’s work, he just wouldn’t say that Bob Dylan’s work fell under only one umbrella. Dunlop believes that Bob Dylan “adapted” his style to connect with everyone in his era like the pre-war songs did. However, he also used individual feelings because of his close connection with the “common man,” which would fall under the post-war way of protest music. For these reasons, I believe that Dunlop wouldn’t categorize Bob Dylan’s music as a combination of both “magnetic” and “rhetorical.”

  9. Will Adams says:

    In “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad,” sociologist R. Serge Denisoff clearly states that the songs of the 1930s-1940s are “magnetic,” and the songs during Bob Dylan’s age are “rhetorical.” On the one hand, Denisoff defines “magnetic” as songs that would unite the people together during tough times. On the other hand, later songs are defined as “rhetorical,” which address specific affairs pertinent to the 1960s. Although the Folk Protest Movement disparaged Dylan’s songs for being vague, it remains clear that Dylan conveyed a deeper message to his audience. Dunlap would view Dylan as a combination of the words “magnetic” and “rhetorical” because Dylan seemed to bring people together, but he also did so with a profound message.

  10. Dalila Vazquez says:

    The two types of songs that are mentioned in the article “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad” are the magnetic and rhetorical songs. The earlier type of songs is the magnetic type is more like joining people collectively to protest against certain issues. The second type of songs is the rhetorical which, on the other hand, were songs that were more like an individualistic approach of protest. These rhetorical songs are considered vague in their message compared to the magnetic type. Dylan’s work can be described using both magnetic and rhetorical because as the article mentions he tried to “reconcile with collectivism” while focusing on the individual aspect.

  11. Haoyue Ma says:

    In “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad”, Serge Denisoff called the protest songs of the 1930s and 1940s conducting feelings of unity and getting together “magnetic”, and by contrast, “rhetorical” songs of 1960s represents “each individual”. J. Dunlap does not argue about the usage of words “magnetic” and “rhetorical”, and keeps illustrating on philosophical viewpoint about two different generations-“pre-war protest songs” and “post-McCathy period song”. The former one promotes “proper social organization”, while songs in post-McCathy period emphasizes “independent thinking”. Also, Dunlap believes that Dylan’s early protest songs are expressions of “the traditional American idealism”.

  12. Tony Huang says:

    In the article “Through the eyes of Tom Joad”, Dunlap uses historian Serge Denisoff’s words “magnetic” and “rhetorical” to describe two types of songs. “Magnetic” is used to describe songs in the 1930s-1940s. Those songs appealed to a great many people and united men together through tough times. On the other hand, “rhetorical” is used refer to songs in 1960s, which are kind of more focused on certain topic and emphasized more on forms. From my perspective, Dunlap was sort of confused about Dylan’s songs. Although Dylan’s songs focused on individualism which belong to the category of “rhetorical’, they also appeal to the majority like “magnetic” songs. So it is difficult to decide whether Dylan’s songs are “magnetic” or “rhetorical”.

  13. Melody Carter says:

    In Dunlap’s article “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad,” he uses historian Serge Denisoff’s terms “magnetic,” meaning expressing collective feelings, and “rhetorical,” meaning expressing individual feelings. The term “magnetic” is used when speaking of early folk songs in the 30s and 40s; whereas, the term “rhetorical” refers to protest songs of the 60s. The folk songs were written for a broader audience. The protest songs address political issues that people could relate to on a more individual and personal basis. Dylan seems to support both of these terms because although he likes to focus on individual ideas, he believes in addressing the people’s issues collectively.

  14. Lyons Li says:

    In the article, the sociologist R. Serge Denisff defined protest songs in two catalogs, “magnetic” and “rhetorical”. Among these two types of protest songs, the magnetic songs expressed a feeling of majority, while the rhetorical songs focused mainly on individual opinions. However, Dunlap seems not agree with Denisff’s opinion about Dylon’s songs. Actually, Denisff used another two terms to interpret protest songs: “an essentially rational and materialistic or orthodox communist-inspired approach, on the one hand, and a more idealistic approach, on the other.” Denisff thought that Dylon’s songs were trying to move his audience and raise a unity feel. Dylon encountered the “Folk Protest Movement”, which played an important role in the 1960s’ protest songs and articles. Furthermore, Dylon also used individual feelings to connect with the popularity.

  15. Abby says:

    Serge Denisoff said the songs of the 30’s and 40’s conveyed a sense of unity while Bob Dylan’s era of songs lacked form and focused more on the individual. Dunlap also states that the older generation was “orthodox commuist-inspired” while Bob Dylan’s era was “more idealist”. Dunlap tries to look at both perspectives, understanding that the different eras reflected different values. While agreeing that 60’s music was more abstract, Dunlap states that the vagueness of the songs contributed to the meaning. In other words, living through a war allowed people to think more broadly about the ongoing problems in the world. As a result, their songs expressed discontent with societal problems at large. The leaders of the Folk Protest Movement had specific agendas, therefore making them seem more substantial.

  16. chenxiyu says:

    From the article “Through the Eyes of Tom Joad”, Serge Denisoff used “magnetic” and “rhetorical” to identify two types of songs. Both type show the ”heart” to people and also protested the situation during the 30′ s and 40′ s. The ”magnetic” means represented the collective feelings and ”rhetorical” represented more individually. However I think Dunlap not really agree with Denisff’s ideas for Dylon’s songs.I think that Dunlap isn’t willing to use these words to describe Dylan’s songs because Dylan still keep the songs on the individual people. So we cannot say Dunlap would like to categorize songs to ”magnetic” and ”rhetorical”.

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