Bob Dylan's 'Visions Of Johanna'

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As was mentioned above, the American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, born as Robert Zimmerman, heavily utilises literary features in his songs, the use of which earned him the title of Nobel Laureate for 2016. Upon entering the musical world in 1965, his first two albums: and Blonde on Blonde, consisted of social outcry, and a commentary on the world he lived in, through song. The song “Visions of Johanna” is lauded as being some of Dylan’s finest literary work due to its treatment of the subject: persons who cannot express their feelings effectively, and who don’t understand themselves in entirety. As of 2010, “Visions of Johanna” is ranked in four hundred and thirteenth place on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, determined…show more content…
This question does not have a clear-cut answer, or any answer, to that end; the use of rhetoric in this line aims to enlighten the listeners to potential threat, and put them on edge, so to speak. The tricks which Dylan speaks of are largely rooted in the denial and repression of the earthbound nature of human existence, and through this, he warns the audience to be on guard, so that they may not be tempted into denying the finite nature of life. Further on in the lyrics, imagery and personification are utilised simultaneously in the line: “The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face/Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place”. At this point in the song, it becomes clear what Johanna represents for the writer, and as such, would send a certain message to the listeners. Johanna is representative of the incorporeal aspect of a human being, the spiritual soul, as contrasted with Louise, who is representative with the corporeal and sensual aspect of humans, the body. When Dylan introduces “the ghost of electricity”, this presents a powerful image composed by the juxtaposition of two incorporeal, powerful, and intangible entities; as electricity is an invisible force of energy which forms one of the most basic entities of the universe as is presently known, and a ghost is on the mystical side of the spectrum, as it falls within the universal archetype of the human imagination. This ghost of electricity howls “in the bones of her face”, her being used to refer to Louise, and this expresses that the “ghost” of this ideal, incorporeal concept physically manifests itself as a phantasmal projection onto the mundane human in front of Dylan, bringing to both his mind, and the minds of the audience, the
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