Why might this song be set primarily in (and titled) Nebraska?

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"Nebraska" is the title track on Bruce Springsteen's sixth studio album. It was released in 1982. The rock song is sung in first-person narrative and tells the story of a series of real-life murders that took place in the Midwest during the 1950s.

Nebraska was a pivotal work in...

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"Nebraska" is the title track on Bruce Springsteen's sixth studio album. It was released in 1982. The rock song is sung in first-person narrative and tells the story of a series of real-life murders that took place in the Midwest during the 1950s.

Nebraska was a pivotal work in Springsteen's career, and he has frequently discussed the inspiration for the album and title track. After seeing Terrence Malick's film Badlands, he became interested in the murders, the dubious love story behind them, and the murderer, Charles Starkweather. Springsteen began to conduct his own research on the trial and the Midwest. In various interviews, he has stated that Badlands was his initial inspiration for the song, the album, and the name. However, Springsteen wasn't alone in this feeling. There have been a number of films inspired by this true story since Badlands was released.

Springsteen has also said that Flannery O'Connor influenced his work around the time he wrote the song. O'Connor is best known for her Southern Gothic short stories. In her stories, the setting is more than just a backdrop; the ominous surroundings tell the story just as much as the characters. Springsteen employed similar writing techniques with his album, focusing his attention on the Midwest.

Charles Starkweather, the narrator of the song, was born in Nebraska. While his killing spree took place in various parts of the Midwest, including Wyoming, Starkweather chose to be sent back to Nebraska for his trial and execution. His story ended where it began, and this makes the title even more fitting.

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