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Dylan and Elvis’ Affect on Culture

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Dylan and Elvis’ Affect on Culture

Mike L.



Professor M

The 1950’s and 1960’s were a time of great change in the United States of America. Some people were trying to hold on to traditional values while others wanted dramatic changes. Many people from the older generations felt that their was too much change going on and that the younger generations were disrespectful. The Cold War was going on during this time as well, and many people felt very differently about the situation. The older generation felt like Americans needed to be willing to support the defense of the nation while younger people rebelled against those traditional ideas and values. Many of the traditional values such as religion, loyalty and trust for government, and sexuality were being revolted against by young people, especially those in college. Figures like Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan became voices for the entire generation. Others like Joseph Heller became voices through their literature and ideas. Because of this many people were stuck between their traditional values and the new counter culture that people like Elvis and Dylan were representing.

Elvis Presley grew up in a small town in Mississippi and had a very traditional upbringing. His mother and father worked average jobs and were considered lower middle class. Elvis was raised to have traditional values like religion, respect for elders, loyalty and patriotism for the U.S.A., although these traditions never left, Elvis is intent on following what he believes is the American dream. Elvis is portrayed as a rock star that rebels against traditional values but in reality he is very closely tied to his values. Elvis’ dissent from tradition is shown in a few examples. First, Elvis begins to find his own unique style and haircut, which leads into bigger things. Another example of Elvis’ dissent was when he openly admitted not wanting to serve his country in the military. This totally went against traditional values regarding loyalty and patriotism for his country. Elvis did not want the military to take away from his fame and fortune. Another example of Elvis’ dissent was his sexual attitude, Elvis was very provocative and many parents blamed him and his music for their children’s promiscuity. Elvis at times though showed that he never truly left his traditional values. For example, Elvis always regrets not spending more time with his mother before she passed away. Another example of this was when Elvis upset about not having a stable girlfriend like his ex Dixie. Even though Elvis was a teen idol and sex symbol, he never truly left his traditional ways.

Bob Dylan was another figure who dissented from his traditional values as he became the voice of a generation. Bob Dylan left his traditional life to look for a new start, he found Woody Guthrie and his new life began. Bob Dylan wrote many of his songs during the 1950’s and 1960’s during the Cold War and other key events in United States

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