The automobile and rock ‘n’ roll music become means for escape.

One setting and theme repeat in most of the songs. It is night time, a couple in a car are making an attempt to break away from the trap of their home town to freedom. Control over your life becomes the goal. Most of Bruce Springsteen’s songs deal with the struggle of young people to free themselves from the restrictions of their parents’ world. As with scenes from Rebel Without a Cause, Springsteen stages confrontations. Adopting James Dean’s persona, he continues to voice the dissatisfaction of one generation with the preceding one. The automobile and rock ‘n’ roll music become means for escape from the confinement of family and hometown.

Reaction against an older generation is common among young people, especially those in the United States after World War II. In the fifties rebellion took the form of rock ‘n’ roll, fast cars, leather jackets, and tough street language. But what was the purpose? In the sixties rebellion reflected a romantic idealism that the world could become a utopian society of peace and love. That notion collapsed. Rebellion in the seventies continues because that’s the role young people play. Although the music of the seventies has mellowed, Springsteen still sees rock ‘n’ roll as rebel music.

Springsteen retells the story of struggling with his parents over his choice of vocations. His father wanted him to be a lawyer, his mother wanted him to write. But he wanted to become a rock star. In the song, “Blinded by the Light,” Springsteen tells how he ignored his mother’s warning: “Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun/Oh but, Mama, that’s where the fun is.” Springsteen sees rock ‘n’ roll as an escape from the boredom ...

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