Running Head: THE RHETORICAL ANALYSIS IN “NO WOMAN NO CRY” The Rhetorical Analysis of “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers Karen Start Dr. Felicia Dziadek Composition 1301 October 1, 2011 Abstract In this paper, the rhetorical analysis of the lyrics to “No Woman No Cry”, made famous by Bob Marley and the Wailers, has been analyzed to reveal the rhetoric mean. Historical events in the Jamaican government’s actions influenced the singer to protect, in a peaceful manner, the people and culture of his country, Jamaica.
Repetition of phrases, sentence structure, tones and values of the song are used by the artist to help “move” the people then and still today. The Rhetorical Analysis of “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers Try not start the opening sentence with a quote. “1979, Boston, MA, live at Amandla Festival-Harvard Stadium, Bob Marley and the Wailers performed the song ‘No Woman No Cry’ mid day because promoters feared a riot [would spark in the streets. ” (moga1985’s Channel, 2006) One of the great songs ever written, “[n]umber 37 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Song of All Time” (Wailers, B. M. , 2011. ), made a huge impact on society when the famous musician Bob Marley helped to bring peace into his country. But what is it that attracts and persuades people to react after listening to words of a performer? The music,take out the the lyrics, tones, beat, or is it the rhetorical statement within the song?
After completing the recent research of “No Woman No Cry”, the proposed purpose of this melody is said to preach the word for a better government, and is dedicated to Bob Marley’s mother, Ciddy, for the love and support she provided through the hard times in Trenchtown, Jamaica. The people of Jamaican took the rhetorical meaning of the song into action. Rebellions and riots were feared to hit the streets to fight for peace and love the natives deserved in Jamaica. Bob Marley’s face and name revolves around the drastic change of Jamaica. Taking the hetorical meaning of this simple song is strong enough to be used as a weapon to protect rights; to have a better life. To help further understanding of Bob Marley’s words, the information collected has been constructed, analyzed, and developed into a thought of the rhetorical analysis, (and the reasoning for the words carefully chosen for the song “No Woman No Cry”) take this out. Bob Marley carefully chose his words for the song “No Woman No Cry” to show the desperate need for peace and to love to his nation by using repetitions, a variety of tones and beats, and peaceful rebellion.

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The rhetorical analysis of Bob’s songs helped to motivate the people into an understanding of the need for peace. In everyday life we experience rhetorical situations, such as advertisements or just simply trying to get someone to raise the thermostat without asking but initially presenting the issue. In most rhetorical situations, people continue to retain the music or rhythm without noticing the rhetoric in songs, poems, and articles. Such an example is the famous repetative song “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers.
It is believed the song was intentionally written for Bob Marley’s mother, Ciddy, or for the sake of his country and religion. Reason for such rhetorical words was because of the independence of Jamaica. Marley was being “[e]xposed to the staunch realities of abject poverty, low pay, malnutrition and disease and a lack of political rights by the poor, houses which were anything from cardboard boxes to beaten out oil drums nailed together, roadblocks, migration, [and] food shortage. ” (rasta man vibrations, 2011. Life became hard for the Jamaicans therefore the song’s rhetorical message relates to the politics at the time being and influenced millions world-wide for peace. The phrase “[i]n the government yard in Trenchtown, Oba, ob-serving the hypocrites” (Ford, Vincent, 1976) refers to the lack of help and support for the people suffering. Marley’s rebellion wasn’t just to preach how bad the government is or to persuade the public to revolt; in fact his voice rang another bell. To teach the world to love and take care of one another is the message in between the lines of the lyrics.
His famous quote “No Woman No Cry” has imprinted the Jamaican government with a rhetorical situation of hard times in life, and the tone peace and love sets a good state of mind in the people’s hearts; in which helped the movement of Jamaican independence. The message from the lyrics means more than just singing to be heard, it’s about having a better life, and to show that “No Woman [should] No[t] Cry” (Ford, Vincent. ) because the future will be better. To get to the rhetorical message, you must first discover the features of the song “No Woman No Cry” for a better understanding of how and why the lyrics and beats influence the message.
The construction of a song can show other characteristics about the artist’s appearances or beliefs. First recognized by the audience are the diction and the chronological order of ideas from the performer. Bob Marley’s chose of words are mainly informal diction. He speaks to his audience as if he personally knows them. Bob’s language is so passionate and his words relate to the audience on a deep personal level. A popular choice of writing is repetition of words or phrases also used in the “No Woman No Cry”. The lines “No Woman No Cry” and “Everything’s gonna be alright” (Ford, Vincent. are repeated and detain a deeper message verses just seeing the plain text. Sentence structure is also a helpful tool used by artist. The arrangement of ideas in a song is very important. In the Also, the performance of the song is very sophisticated. Because Marley’s words were so passionate, people literally took the rhetorical message into action. Most reggae music is a form of steady beat and ska combined and slowed. Usually the third or fourth string is accented and this tends to be the standard rhythm.
The rhythm, beats, repetition of words, and the order of Bob Marley’s ideas all contribute to the rhetorical message of the song. Content and form are presented in the song and correspond to one another. The main purpose received from “No Woman No Cry” was the simple fact to not worry or stress and that the individual will be reassured “everything will be alright”. The author of the song appeals to the reason of hardship in Trechtown, Jamaica. Such reason of this is the change of Jamaica’s government control. Independence was won shortly before the burst of reggae music.
People began to view life differently and shift to a new prospective. Not only does Bob Marley make music but he also changes many individual minds on a variety of subjects. When individuals listen to the words presented in a song, they form an image or story of what the performer is introducing. For the song “No Woman No Cry”, the audience infers it is about a woman and the performer is trying to reassure her that there is no reason to cry. But in reality, the sweet words are directed into two ways. One line in the lyrics “Then we would cook cornmeal porridge” (Ford, Vincent. ) is eferring to the dinners Marley would enjoy with his mother. “Although porridge for dinner was an indication of the family’s economic need it was also conversely an indication of strength and love through Bob’s satisfaction with having such a meal. ” (rasta man vibrations, 2011. ) This line is so sincere about the memories he shared with his mother growing up poor without food. After analyzing the song, a different perspective is formed. Majority of the audience assume the rhetorical message is directed to the relationship between Marley and his family and also to preach for a better system of government for Jamaica.
Emotionally the audience feels a sense of hurt, hope, and calming peace from the performer. To contribute to this sense, form of the lyrics helps to portray such emotions. The structure of communication is sculpted into public communication; “In other words, it is the intention of the communicator that what is communicated might be received/apprehended by anyone. ” (Faulkner, Andrew, 2009. ) The performer, Bob Marley, uses such communication in hopes the audience will receive the information of the public to understand and continue to fight for the hope of having a free and peaceful country.
This usage of form and content helps the artist reach out to the public. Marley’s approach to the public and the techniques he had chosen were very useful to get his rhetorical message in his song clear to the point. Performers write and sing for various reasons and another key element to a performer’s writing is his audience. When listening to a song, a thought of whom the lyrics are directed to is proposed. ‘Who could the writer possibly be directing his attention to? ’ is question often brought to mind. In the perspective of Marley, his intentions were to his people; the natives suffering in Jamaica. Then we would cook corn meal porridge, Of which I’ll share with you” this line considers the meals Bob Marley would eat with his mother. At the time in Jamaica, the public was so poor they couldn’t afford to have a diversity of food. The message within these lines is directed to his mother. Like many of the Jamaicans, Marley had experienced hardship therefore we can only assume his audiences are the people of Jamaica. “In its literal sense the song can be interpreted as an ode to Marley’s mother and the hardships they both faced in Trench Town”. (Rasta man vibration, 2011).
The performer used much of his personal experiences show that he too feels the same as the rest of the public. In sense that the public wanted a better life; to have food, free of diseases, and a home to live in. We as the modern day listeners, interpret the song into manners in which we can understand. It is believed the information Marley has given to his audiences is exposed for the spread of the good word; peace. Historical events influence the people experiencing the change of life, hardship, pain, and the need of support from those who want to ‘rule’.
The wide range of audiences Bob Marley has obtain have continued to spread the peace, love, and happiness in hope that one day the people of the world will not have to “she’d no tears. ” (Ford, Vincent, 1974. ) Out of such powerful performances and significantly constructed communication culture and values can be produced. Marley had ‘moved the people’ into a cultural development people today continue to practice his motivations. Individuals practice the art of marijuana, love, peace movements, and creating reggae music. Marley’s face can be seen from posters to T-shirts and his words are used as greetings or goodbyes.
Till this day, Marley’s name is best known for his perspective on life, the fight for his people, to keeping his religion, and a better government in his country. Many audiences have been reached out by the words of Bob Marley and his music lives on today touching the hearts of many people. The only clear cut rhetorical message Bob Marley has given to the world is the uplifting phrase, “Peace, Love, and Happiness. ” Rhetorical analysis can provide a deeper intellectual thought of an article, book, poem, or song. In this case, the song “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers was analyzed to receive the message within the lines.
Love, hope, pain, and sorrow all contribute to the long lasting song Bob Marley has given us. The sentence structure, structure of communication, and features used help to contribute the reasoning of “No Woman No Cry”. The performances of the artist contribute to the passive moving lyrics as well. A performer will most likely present the rhythm and beats to help the sentence stucture of the lyrics. Looking through the fine print of casual writings reveals rhetorical analysis with a little research and historical fact support. References 1. Bob Marley’s song No Woman No Cry. n. d. ). rasta man vibration. Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://www. rasta-man-vibration. com/no-woman-no-cry. html. 2. __video_username__, m. (2006, April 2). moga1985’s Channel – YouTube . YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. . Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://www. youtube. com/user/moga1985. 3. BobMarley. com | The Official Site of Bob Marley . (2010, December 27). BobMarley. com | The Official Site of Bob Marley . Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://www. bobmarley. com/. 4. Wailers, B. M. (2011, September 20). No Woman, No Cry – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/No_Woman. 5. “No Woman No Cry Lyrics – Bob Marley. ” Lyrics, Song Lyrics – LyricsFreak. com. N. p. , n. d. Web. 2 Oct. 2011. ;http://www. lyricsfreak. com/b/bob. 6. Ford, Vincent. “No Woman No Cry” lyric credit. (1976) 7. Faulkner, Andrew. “The Structure of Communication « Reflections and Insights on Transformation. ” Reflections and Insights on Transformation. N. p. , 17 May 2009. Web. 2 Oct. 2011. ;http://sureshfernando. wordpress. com/2009/05/17/the-structure-of-communication/;.

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