What does The Ghost Of Tom Joad mean?

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Bruce Springsteen: The Ghost Of Tom Joad Meaning


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The Ghost Of Tom Joad Lyrics

The Ghost Of Tom Joad
Men walkin' 'long the railroad tracks
Goin' someplace there's no goin' back
Highway patrol choppers comin' up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretchin' round the corner
Welcome to the new...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 24th 2012 report

    This song is not about the Great Depression or World War II.

    Tom Joad was the main character in "The Grapes of Wrath" written by John Steinbeck and in the movie adaption by John Ford starring Henry Fonda. The book follows the Joad family as they migrate to California after being forced off their farm during the Great Depression.

    In the Ghost of Tom Joad, Springsteen writes about the issues that were present during the first Bush era (homelessness, poverty, etc..) and evokes the memories of the Great Depression by referring to the Ghost of Tom Joad.

    In fact, the last part of the song directly quotes and then expands on Tom Joad's last talk with his Ma in the movie.

  2. anonymous
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    May 8th 2018 report

    This song is about the future, after the government declares martial law and forces people to be mirochipped. If they don't take the microchip they will be forced to live in poverty like fashion. Springsteen says welcome to the "new world order", which president Bush hints at in a 1991 speech, so no this is not about the great depression or wwII, but a time much worse. The great tribulation according to the word of truth the Holy Bible. Beleive in Jesus and do not take the microchip.

  3. anonymous
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    Nov 30th 2011 report

    I think its about the depression in the 1920's and its in the eyes of a actual man in the time period and that person Does the things of the great depression like riding the rails, sleeping in hobo camps, and hiding from railroad patrol then it goes further in the future and the guy is now in World War II. I beleive thats what he meant by sleeping on a bed of rocks and this passage "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
    Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
    Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
    Look for me Mom I'll be there
    Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
    Or decent job or a helpin' hand
    Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
    Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me."

    And i beleive the Guy to be Tom Joad. Now as to the guy waiting for the Ghost of Tom Joad I beleive its just someone looking for inspiration or the person is going through a similar issue, That or it's his mother waiting for him to come back from the war.

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