Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2017

Course Name

Bruce Springsteen and the American Dream


Dr. Jeanne Buckley


University Seminar, Arcadia University Undergraduate Curriculum


Bruce Springsteen’s exploration through the lives of oppressed working class people has been a prevalent theme throughout the four decades of his musicianship. This paper will discuss the motivations, methods, and impact of the blue collar characters that Springsteen writes about in his songs. The characters from specific songs will be analyzed and placed into one of three categories: law-abiding working class citizens, dreamers attempting to flee desolation, or sympathetic criminals. Specific examples will be used from some of Bruce Springsteen’s more well-known songs, such as “Thunder Road”, “Born to Run”, “The River”, and “Born in the U.S.A.”, and other songs will also be investigated. This paper will connect these examples to real world social injustices that working class Americans endure, and to the failure of the American Dream.