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Sociology Assignment: Song Lyric Analysis Of "Talking in Your Sleep"


Task: We watched the documentary “Sounds Like a Revolution”. This introduced us to the concept of using music as a means of social action – something that has been done all through history. In keeping with this, you will choose a song that is a representation of some form of social action movement/statement, then relate its lyrics and/or music to the movement.

Your sociology assignment should have the following content, and be a minimum of 2 pages (more is welcome – no max):
1.) Intro: Provide me the name of the song, the performer, writer (often performer and writer are different) and which social action movement you believe this song to be associated with
2.) A concise (but complete) summary of the social action movement
3.) Full lyrics to the song (presented in proper verse/chorus format…example on next page)
4.) Relate the following parts of the song to the social movement (how are they connected/what is the meaning?)
i.) Chorus
ii.) Any 3 other parts of:
A) at least 2 lines (could be from verse one, two, bridge, outro, etc.)
B) or a specific passage of the music (provide me the approx. time this occurs)
5.) Brief summary of your overall thoughts on the song in relation to the movement (likes, dislikes, how effective you feel it is, how it makes you feel, etc.)


Every Song lyric has a hidden message to the society or community and it has several significances on that particular medium that lyrics want to peruse. According to the words ofFirdaus (2019) considered within this sociology assignment, song lyrics analysis needs to be done very carefully because each word of chorus and stanza indicates the moto of the movement. To make any social movement, the song is the ideal medium to reach the people. Every individual is associated with the internet as well as YouTube, Spotify where they can listen to it. Similarly, this study is based on the "Talking in Your Sleep" song and it provides a message towards society through a social movement. "Talking in your sleep" is mainly associated with the civil rights movement. Apart from that, this study aims to investigate the hidden message that lay on the song. Along with that, a concise summary of the civil rights movement will take place in this study. The major objective of this study is to relate the songs part with the civil rights movement while a chorus of the song and stanza is also considered for interpreting. This study aims to summarize the whole context of this song in the later part of this study.

2)Concise summary of Social action movement
In 1960, Bob Dylan wrote this song to address civil rights issues. He tries to address the issues with the help of the song because of its availability. Each word of “Talking in your sleep” indicates the civil right of humans. Along with that, racial equality has also been there which is also reflected in the song. The civil rights movement includes the basic rights of humans. In 1960, Bob Dylan was associated with the civil rights movement and his main objective was to provide the basic right to the civilians of Caribbean Island. In this case, her girlfriend SuzeRotolo forced him to join politics and he was becoming a volunteer of the "congress of racial equality" within a quick time. as a politician, he tries to create a culture where everyone was treated in the same way and every individual have freedom of speech. According to Brandon, Maupin & Goodman (2017), Bob Dylan also makes a protest song before 1960 and it was gained huge success all over the world. People have realized their issues and appreciated Bob Dylan through am award. On the other hand, he also tries to minimize racism through this song. Being a black guy, he was faced several issues since childhood and was not able to address any issues at that time. Due to composing this protest song, he was nominated for the Noble Prize but he refused to accept that. He said that "an award is nothing but a showpiece. If anyone wants to do any contribution for the civilians right, they can do it". This statement was able to raise awareness regarding the civil rights movement. "everything about you us mystery" is one of the lines of his song and it shows the hatred about the steps that taken by the congress assembly regarding the civil rights movement. He shares his thoughts on the civil rights movement with his girlfriend and she asked him to make a song on this. It was a global success in the context of movement. Neal (2021) stated that he was criticized for this song immensely by his countryman and other countries. Some of them were raised their voice to throw him out of the country but here in-laws were the ministers of union organizers at that time. they save him and get a place as a volunteer in congress. That is why he wrote this line “I hear the secrets that you keep”.

3)Full lyrics to the song
When you close your eyes and go to sleep
And it’s down to the sound of a heartbeat
I can hear the things that you’re dreaming about
When you open up your heart and the truth comes out

You tell me that you want me
You tell me that you need me
You tell me that you love me
And I know that I’m right
Cause I hear it in the night
I hear the secrets that you keep
When you’re talking in your sleep
I hear the secrets that you keep
When you’re talking in your sleep

When I hold you in my arms at night
Don’t you know you’re sleeping in a spotlight?
And all your dreams that you keep inside
You’re telling me the secrets that you just can’t hide
You tell me that you want me
You tell me that you need me
You tell me that you love me
And I know that I’m right, Cause I hear it in the night

4)Relate the following parts
Part 1:

The Chorus “I hear the secrets that you keep when you’re talking in your sleep” signifies the experiences and the occurrences a woman utters in her sleep. The woman in the song has suffered from the sorrows of the Civil War and the after effects of the war has left her with devastating moments. Her wounds are so deep that she is not able to share anything when in conscious mind. However, while she is sleeping or in unconscious mind she murmurs about the happenings of the past that has broken her into pieces. The singer being the narrator of the story may be her partner or lover finds it difficult to understand what exactly she wants to share while she is sleeping.

Part 2:
A. The lines “you tell me that you want me you tell me that you need me.” These lines signify that the singer wanted to share the pain and sufferings of the woman affected by the Civil war movement. The singer wanted her to share her feelings and find solace in his arms. The singer understood that she needed him and wanted a place in his heart. The after effects of Civil War destroyed many families. The lovers got separated and many of the children died. This created an unfavorable impact upon the wellbeing of mental condition of the woman as she have been experiencing those nightmares since ages after the end of the War.

B. “And I know that I'm rightCuz I hear it in the night.” This line signifies the fact that the stories which people talk about in their dreams are real. The singer understood that the experiences she has gone through are real and devastating because she has been talking about them in sleep. The singer also emphasized on the fact that when people talks in their dreams during the night they talk about real events they have experienced in the past. In the similar way he understood that his assumptions were right because he heard them at the night. The relationship of the singer with the woman is still unknown. She may be his roommate or lover. However, he is deeply affected by the feelings and the sufferings of the woman. The after effects of the Civil War cannot be clearly understood from the wordings from the woman in sleep as it sounded somewhat in-coherent. This is because people do murmur in an incoherent way while in sleep. The singer also mentions the fact that he is right that the woman loves him and wants him. This is due to the reason that she murmurs the same in her sleep during the night. The nature of the song is such that it was pertaining to social movement and therefore every aspect of the song related to the human sufferings and their conditions. The song symbolized the fact that human are not free from the ultimate consequences of death.

After listening to it can be said that Bob Dylan was tried to portray a clear picture of the civil rights movements.
Along with the melody and harmony of the song I feel good. I also feel this song is as romantic as anything. Each word gives me goosebumps. I believed that the song was associated with the philosophies of human life. By because the civil rights movement was the right direction for the Caribbean people and civilians positively raised their feedback. I also feel the same, this protest makes a significant impact on the civilians of Caribbean Island. Thus, it can be said that this song has a separate fan base in the world and it considers as one of the great protest movements in history.

6)Reference list
Brandon, S., Maupin, I., & Goodman, M. (2017). Bob Dylan: The prophet of social change in the 1960s. Media Watch, 8(3), 366-377.
Firdaus, W. (2019). The civil rights movement in Bob Dylan's the Freewheelin'Bob Dylan and the times they are a-Changin'albums. Sociology assignment (Doctoral dissertation, UIN SunanGunungDjati Bandung).
Neal, E. (2021). A change is gonna come: a critical analysis of the benefits of musical activism in the civil rights movement (Doctoral dissertation, Rutgers University-Camden Graduate School).


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