Proposal for Essay #2

by JIll Jones

Fall 208=08
English 302 H07

  1. Name of musical composition you are going to describe, what it is (song, symphony, instrumental, ballad), and where you found it. MP3.

    I am describing a John Fogerty song called "Fortunate Son." It is from a Creedence Clearwater Revival album called Willie and the Poorboys. The album was released in 1970.

  2. What is its subject? If there is a story or situation, explain. If it is instrumental, what is the title and does that tell you anything. A couple of sentences.

    The song is a protest song. It was written in response to Fogerty's perception of favoritism of certain men during the Vietnam draft. He believed that if you had certain last names or were the son or grandson of certain people, you could get out of being drafted. If you were just a common man, you were headed to Vietnam.

    Music can be used as a tool to protest current events. Music can be extremely effective in politics.

  3. Strategy: how do you plan to present it: will you frame it as a story; will you place it in history or against what is known of the singer/composer or type of music it belongs to; will it be an autobiographical or personal context? What comparisons will you use? Suggest the metaphors you can think of Two paragraphs.

    I plan to place this song in history. I will give a brief overview of what was going on in the late sixties that spurred the writing of this song. I will also compare this song with another John Fogerty song written thirty-eight years later that also uses the term "fortunate son" only, rather than David Eisenhower as the fortunate son, this time the song is about George W. Bush. It is called "I Can't Take it No More," and it is also a protest song against the war in Iraq. I will bring in quotes from a 2007 interview with John Fogerty where he speaks out about both wars.

    I will also discuss how music can encapsulate a time in history. It makes time stand still almost. When the song is listened to in the future, it can bring up the emotions of the past.

  4. Why do you like it? Is your attraction central to your idea? Here you could try some preliminary description (formal elements, how it sounds, how it is organized, what is the refrain). Two paragraphs at most.

    I've always liked this song. It is total rock and roll at its best. It's got lots of guitar riffs, lots of bass, and lots of drum beats. It's not really the kind of song you dance to, more the kind to tap you foot and listen to. It makes you a little angry when you listen to it too.

    It gives you a sort of "How dare they!" feeling in the pit of your stomach. My dad and uncles all served in Vietnam and they know lots of people who didn't see the end of that war. My husband has served in Iraq and he is still on active duty in the Air Force with another deployment always looming on the horizon. We know several people who have already died in that war including my husband's best friend who died in a helicopter crash and my 18 year old female cousin who was blown up in Iraq and is buried in Arlington cemetery. If I think about my family and friends being sent off to war, I definitely don't want to think that they are there because of bad intelligence or misjudgments.

  5. What do you think the singer/composer is trying to say or feeling, or wants to make you feel? One paragraph.

    I think the artist is trying to question political policy. I think in both of his songs that he is angry and wants to express his own anger and frustration. He is using the stage he has been given to express his outrage. I think the song is patriotic although it has been accused of being unpatriotic. It is not unpatriotic to question the government.

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Page Last Updated: 20 August 2009.