“This Land is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie
The song by Woody Guthrie is already in the public knowledge, but it is the first verse of his song that is taught to most children. In “This Land is Your Land,” the second verse is not known, as it forms the main part of the song and has different directions compared to the first verse. In the second verse, it is difficult to differentiate between the tropes among the similar chorus in the song. The difference emerges from the fact that the chorus is widely known, but people only remember the first verse (McQuade and Mc Quade 509). In the first verse, people knows the first verse and do not remember any other sections of the verse. This reason makes it difficult for people to teach the second verse to children.
The first verse tends to capture a universal description of the national anthem. The verse helps people to discover and acknowledge their power and ability in the improving their lives in the United States. It also points out to specific states including the “Staten Island” (McQuade and Mc Quade 509). This provides some geographical reference in helping the readers and people to identify with the song. In this process, the first verse becomes favorable in describing and appreciating United States. On the other hand, the second verses and other verses provide a general description that lacks specificity. This makes it difficult to teach the children the second verse from the song. In addition, the first verse tends to overshadow the message relied in other subsequent verse. It brings about strong arguments on the greatness of the land through a form of self-expression (McQuade and Mc Quade 519).
Most importantly, Woody Guthrie used the song as a protest in the late 1940s. The first verse was played many times on the radio insisting that “God Bless America for me” (McQuade and Mc Quade 518). Considering the popularity of the first verse, many people opted to teaching the children the first verse. The second verse provides additional details on the issues laid out in the first verse. The first serve was seen to be more unifying and patriotic to the Americans dui the subsequent years, especially during the first and the second world wars. Moreover, the second verse is not taught to many children because it was released after the first verse. Guthrie did not record the entire songs until the late 1944.
During the recording of the song, Guthrie realized each at a time and thus, the first verse was more subversive than the second verse. In 1967, Guthrie song was used as a chorus in the civil rights movements. The civil rights movements used the first verse, as they would not sing the entire song in their parades. With time, the first verse gained popularity among the blacks, making it their anthem in their campaigns. Over time nom after the African Americans fought of their rights, the first verse of the song became popular overshadowing the second verse of the song (McQuade and Mc Quade 499).
In summary, the second verse has been neutralized by the impact of the first verse among the Americans. Considering its popularity, the first verse’s words are more familiar making it simple for children to understand. In addition, the children would not be interested in a second verse that does not hold any impact on their nation. The main reason relies on the success of the first verse that made the second verse and other verses unnoticeable. Therefore, Woody Guthrie observed that the first verse gained much popularity compared to the second verse among the Americans.
McQuade, Donald and Mc Quade, Christine. Seeing & Writing 3. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006. Print