Analyze the song “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley. What impact does literature have on effecting change in society? Keeping in mind that musical lyrics are a form of literature, respond to this question using the song.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh wrote the lyrics to "Get Up, Stand Up" in 1973. It is said that seeing the poverty that afflicted Haitians inspired Marley's contributions to the song. The early 1970s continued the protest song era that began in the 1960s, and "Get Up, Stand Up" is...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh wrote the lyrics to "Get Up, Stand Up" in 1973. It is said that seeing the poverty that afflicted Haitians inspired Marley's contributions to the song. The early 1970s continued the protest song era that began in the 1960s, and "Get Up, Stand Up" is an anthem that promotes the idea of self-empowerment. What is implied by the words "get up" is that there are people who have been put down or under the control of others. To exhort oppressed people to "get up" is to tell them to find the strength to challenge the forces that would keep them down. Moreover, to "stand up" is to take a stand, to demand one's human rights. They lyrics are mostly expressed as imperative statements.

In the lyrics are references to Jah, Jesus, and Almighty God. It expresses the Rastafarian belief that the Almighty is within mankind as well as being an external deity. It is arguable that the song then encourages oppressed people to recognize and embrace their inner divinity. It is an empowering and inspiring sentiment.

Popular music such as this reggae staple does affect society because of its vast and immediate reach as an aspect of pop culture. Lyrics to popular songs are an effective way to disseminate social and political opinions. The lyrics to "Get Up, Stand Up" are general enough to inspire people who are suffering any kind of oppression to stand up for themselves.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team