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An Analysis of Transcendentalism in the Songs of Dixie Chicks, Bob Marley and Bon Jovi

“Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks is a clear example of a song with Transcendental lyrics. It is about a girl leaving home to achieve her goals in life, an example of the American dream. “A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone” and “it takes a shape of a place out west.” These explain the importance of nature because she writes about using nature in order to find her true self. Dixie Chicks also display confidence and self-reliance when they sing, “room to make her big mistakes.”

The song illustrates a meaningful story of a girl who makes a big decision to leave home and go through life on her own for a while in order to gain some life experience and have “wide open spaces.” “If these are life’s lessons, she’ll take this test. She knows the high stakes.” I see this as a representation that children and teens often put everything on the line so that they can pursue a life that is full of experience. The girl will not conform to what her parents want, but instead, she will go on and live her life to the fullest.

“Get up, Stand up” by Bob Marley is a strong example of nonconformity. He wants the listener to stand up for his or her rights as a human being and to not let others oppress you. This is evident in the lyrics, “Get up, stand up, stand up for your right.” Marley repeats the concept of how change is a necessity for society and that men are the only ones capable of making those changes several times.

Marley displays the idea of oversoul when he sings that “Almighty God is a living man.” He believes that God isn’t found in Heaven, but here on Earth. This also applies to the self-reliance theme because Marley claims that humans need to learn how to rely on themselves instead of religion or God. Clearly, this song shows that one is capable of relying on thyself to achieve their dreams.

“It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi displays several themes of Transcendentalism. The first connection that I noticed is in the beginning of the song when he says “I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd, you’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud.” This is similar to the transcendental belief that one should express how they feel, instead of holding it in or faking it.

Another connection is when Jovi sings “Like Frankie said I did it my way, I just wanna live while I’m alive. It’s my life.” He will not conform to society. Bon Jovi wants to take control of his own life and live how he wants to. It is not his job to please others, and it shouldn’t be yours either. Basically, do what you want because life is short and there isn’t enough time to regret your choices.

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