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A Change is Gonna Come: An Analysis

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by

Bennett Smith

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of A Change is Gonna Come: An Analysis

Poetic Devices
Repetition- "it's been a long time coming"
this line is repeated after each 'stanza' of the song in order to emphasize the struggles that blacks have experienced throughout time
Work Cited
"BEHIND THE SONG: "A Change Is Gonna Come" - American Songwriter." American Songwriter. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Relation to the Harlem Renaissance
The song is reminiscent of Langston Hughes' poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" because both works of art chronicle the struggle of the black/African-American through popular example
History
In 1964, among the chaos of the Vietnam War, Sam Cooke released arguably his most popular and influential song, "A Change is Gonna Come"
Structure
"I was born by the river in a little tent"
this line describes a scene that represents the early beginnings of civilization (notably black civilization) and Cooke's long lasting connection with his ancestry
A Change is Gonna Come: An Analysis
Figurative Language
Simile: "just like the river I've been running ever since"
this line suggests that Cooke's cultural pride runs through him just as fast as he paces through life
"I Know a Change is Gonna Come"
This line, which is the central theme of the song, carries a message of hope for Sam Cooke and his people that exemplifies his aspiration for civil rights and peace among all people
"It's been too hard living but I'm afraid to die, cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky"
this line could be interpreted as the struggles of slavery, otherwise known as the second chapter in Cooke's story of the African civilization
"I go to the movie and I go downtown, somebody keep telling me don't hang around"
this represents the prejudice that existed during the Civil Rights Movement where blacks were segregated, harassed, and lynched throughout America during the early/mid 1900's
"Then I go to my brother and I say brother help me please, but he winds up knockin' me back down on my knees"
this line expands on the unjust treatment of blacks by exposing the disloyalty of Cooke's own race in its time of need
The lines "I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep" and "I was born by a river in a little tent" are both very similar because they both describe a connection to their ancestry as well as a devotion to their culture no matter their social circumstances
Full transcript