Malvina Reynolds Song Analysis

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Little Songs, Big Meanings Music is a critical form of expression, especially in times of political and social unrest; it has been an ever-present component in protest movements throughout history. Songs have the power to not only unite a group of people, but also motivate them. Music is an important historical text that provides us understanding into the circumstances that led up to protest movements and the reasons that motivate its activists. They are far more complex than just types of entertainment. Protest songs have no specific genre and can often be applied in many social movements. The 1950’s and 60’s were the beginning of the civil rights movement. Malvina Reynolds song “Little Boxes” is a critique of the culture of conformity during…show more content…
In Suburbia, housing covenants were put in place and mortgages were denied in predominately black communities. The ‘Invisible Poor’, consisting of urban, rural, and elderly poverty, began to grow. Although the government shed light on the high level of poverty, they put no help or money into solving it. A new generation of student activists, that were fed up with the slow pace and half successes of leftists at this time, began to take direct action. They no longer wanted to be a generation that conformed and sat back, instead seeking to “share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his life and that society be organized to encourage independence in men and provide the media for their common participation.” They believed in a participatory democracy. In the Port Huron Statement, students stated that there is “no real conception of personal identity except one manufactured in the image of others”. Society was encouraging everybody to be like each other, quieting any voice that attempted to speak out. These students began protesting and fighting until those around them had no choice but to listen. The song “Little Boxes” represents the generation of people these students didn’t want to be, refusing to conform to the demands of society and coming together to fight for basic civil rights for
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