On this day in 1962, Bob Dylan recorded the song “Blowin’ in the Wind” for his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Of all the memorable protest songs that came out of the turbulent 1960s, “Blowin’ in the Wind” is the best known. Its success lies in its anthem-like quality as well as its universal and timeless themes of war, peace, and freedom. But perhaps its most powerful feature is its presentation of a litany of rhetorical questions, questions which perfectly balance the general and the specific in such a way that the questions remain relevant more than fifty years after they were written:
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
“Blowin’ in the Wind” is Bob Dylan’s most covered song. The most successful version was recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Their cover version reached number two on the Billboard pop chart in April 1963 (1).
As Bob Dylan reminds us, a question is like a magnifying glass that allows us to more closely examine ideas. They also allow us to expand our thinking broadly, limited only by the size of our own imagination.
Today’s Challenge: Interrogate a Topic
What is a topic that you care about — a topic that you are curious about? What are some questions you have about the topic? Select a topic that you care about. Use your passion for the topic to generate a list of at least 10 legitimate questions that you do not know the answer to. Use these questions as springboards for future writing. (Common Core Writing 2 – Expository)
Quotation of the Day: You can hear in this a yearning and a hope and a possibility and a sadness and sometimes a triumphal proclamation of determination. The answer is blowin’ in the wind means we will find the answer. So it’s a matter of interpretation and, frankly, I think Bobby was probably right and legitimate in not giving a specific interpretation. -Peter Yarrow