Essay Example on This Land Is Your Land is a poem written by Woodrow Wilson

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This Land Is Your Land is a poem written by Woodrow Wilson Woody Guthrie in February of 1940 in April of 1944 it was eventually set to music and turned into a song On the first reading of this poem especially when one takes into account the song that was learned in childhood it has a very patriotic feel to it This land is your land this land is my land this land was made for you and me Guthrie 1 1 1 4 Upon closer inspection when the last three stanzas of the poem are taken into account we see that this is not the case at all and different meaning comes to light The song that everyone knows today is somewhat different than the original poem that was written by Guthrie why is this To get a better understanding of Guthrie s poem you have to get a better understanding of what was going on in the world during the time the poem was written and who Woody Guthrie was as a person what was the inspiration behind the poem and how the poem became the song that we all know today Woody Guthrie was an American folk singer and songwriter He has authored many songs and poems including This Land Is Your Land Matthew Blake an assistant professor ibn the Journalism Department of California State University states that Guthrie considered himself to be a dust bowl refugee when he moved to California in the 1930 s 184 




The Great Depression inspired many of the songs that Guthrie authored The Great Depression that occurred during the 1930 s was considered to be the most important downturn in the U S in the twentieth century and it even extended up to Word War II Tapia Granados and Diez Roux 17290 Lack of adequate work led Guthrie to the decision to move to California After his move to California between May 1939 and November 1940 Guthrie became involved with a Communist Party newspaper People s World which was located in San Francisco During his association with People s World Guthrie contributed cartoons and a regular column called Woody Sez Blake 184 While he was never a member of the Communist Party Guthrie did consider himself to be a Communist Santelli Ch 4 Many times when writing for People s World Guthrie would in misspell words to try and come across as if he lacked education so that his readers would feel more comfortable with him Blake 187 This Land Is Your Land is considered to be one of the greatest patriotic songs ever written But was it originally intended to be as patriotic as everyone thinks it is This poem started out as Woody Guthrie s rebuttal of Irving Berlin s patriotic song God Bless America Guthrie disliked the song because he felt that if God was going to bless America why was He waiting so long Santelli Ch 3 He believed that the song didn t take the side if the hard working people 




The first few verses of the poem describe idyllic visions of America however the poem begins to have an overtly political feel in the poems fourth verse Santelli Ch 3 One April 25 1944 Guthrie recorded God Blessed America for the first time but the title was changed to This Land Is My Land Santelli Ch The first time that the This Land Is My Land or This Land Guthrie could not decide which title to use was heard on the radio was in 1945 when Woody Guthrie on a radio show called American Music Festival Guthrie later used This Land Is My Land as the theme of his short lived radio program called The Ballad Gazette Santelli Ch 6 The first time the a significant change can be seen in the words to This Land Is Your Land was in a song compilation titled Ten Songs for Two Bits where Guthrie included commentary about each song on the compilation The commentary that he listed with This Land Is Your Land failed to mention that the song was a rebuttal to Irving Berlin s God Bless America or even the actual year he wrote it Guthrie only mentioned events that happened after he authored the poem Santelli Ch 6 In this compilation for the first time we see the lyrics written down and they do not include what are considered the two most controversial verses the fifth verse that talks about trespassing and the sixth verse that talks about the relief office Santelli Ch 6 Over the next several years folk singers such as Pete Seeger and many of the newer folk singers such as Bob Dylan would record This Land Is Your Land and use it in their concerts the song was even listed in school textbooks Santelli Ch 8 By this time most people did not realize that the song was missing some of the original verses After learning more about the history of



This Land Is Your Land the poem can never be looked at in quite the same way again Because of the era that it was written in and because of the experiences of its author that made the poem that hit the heart of the everyday hard working American Why some of the changes were made to This Land Is Your Land unfortunately we may never know but the song will live on What started out as a song of the people plights has become one of the greatest patriot songs that America has and no matter what Woody Guthrie intended this poem to say it has endured long after his death


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