Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Speech Communication


The late 1950's and the early 1960’s in America was the scene of a movement to overthrow the reigning symbols of authority. Bob Dylan was a rhetor who became a "prophet” for this movement. In fact, Dylan’s ability to state issues both simply and poetically made him perhaps the most prophetic of the movement's rhetors.

This movement first took root in the 1950’s in the movement for “civil rights” and the establishment of the “New Left.” The latter was an organization of intellectuals who, spurred by the thoughts of C. Wright Mills, grouped for the purpose of nuclear disarmament and the maintenance of peace. This began to emerge as the movement for “peace” and became entwined with the civil movement to form an even larger movement which opposed the reigning symbols of American authority.

This study deals with the rhetor who was probably the most successful in expressing the values, attitudes and beliefs of this opposition movement –Bob Dylan. It is, more importantly, an attempt to discern the motives of Bob Dylan and the movement, the rhetorical strategies of Bob Dylan and the success of Dylan and the movement. In its finality this study will attempt to measure the overall effect of Bob Dylan, a rhetor who, dissatisfied with the reigning symbols of American authority, tried to actualize his dream, persuade the uncommitted Americans, and promote the actualization of a perfect American social order.