Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen

By: Elizabeth, Caitlin, Allyson, Catherine, Jahvarn

Imagery: The song uses imagery such as "Born down in a dead man's town. The first kick I took was when I hit the ground. You end up like a dog that's been beat too much," to more fully express the life of the man that Springsteen is highlighting in the song.

Syntax: The chorus of the song is entirely repetition of "Born in the USA." The is the largest cause of the patriotism that the song is known for.

Diction: "Born in...USA" is what impacts the song the most, if only just because it is repeated so often. The constant drum beat in the back of the song not only keeps time, but also gives the song a feeling of consistence and steadiness. The musical instruments match the vocals, in that they are both strong, confident, and loud. The entire song is very in-your-face because of this.

Details: The story that the song tells is one of a simple country man who ends up enlisting in the Vietnam War. The song even states "Sent me off to Vietnam, to go and kill the yellow man." The 'yellow man' is what America called our opponents in Vietnam.

Tone: The words in the story that the song tells are sad, and almost giving off a tone of giving up. An example of this from the lyrics is "I had a buddy at Khe Sahn, fighting off the Viet Cong. They're still there, he's all gone. He had a little girl in Saigon. I got a picture of him in her arms." This is not a happy story that Springsteen is telling. However, because he sings the song so loudly and strongly, and because of the repetition of "Born in the USA," the ending tone that the song comes off with is Pride, as represented by the bald eagle and flag in the picture above.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

What sensory experiences does the song describe?
- Pride
Where does the song use pauses, repetition, parallelism and/or unique sentence structure?
- Born in the USA is repeated a lot throughout the song
What three words most impact to the overall feel of this song?
- Born in USA
How are musical devices (instrument choice, pacing, rhythm, vocals, etc.) used to enhance specific words' meaning?
- He is energetic and passionate while singing about Vietnam
What is the subject of the song? Does it tell a story or declare a message?
- Fighting in Vietnam- It tells the story of fighting in Vietnam and supporting US troops
***If there are any allusions you do not know, research their details and decide how they add meaning to the song.
Use this list of tone words to describes the tone of the song’s music.
- Energetic, Proud
Use this list of tone words to describes the tone of the song’s language as revealed through imagery, syntax, diction, and details.
- Proud, Passionate
Create/select a symbolic visual to present your analysis embodying both the literary and musical tone of the song. The image should be a SYMBOLIC representation, not a literal one. For example, do not use a picture of the tomb of the unknown soldier; rather, use a symbol that abstractly conveys the idea of anonymity in the song.