Analysis of the song "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" also known as "The Angry American" by Toby Keith

Essay by Bas01ActressUniversity, Bachelor's April 2003

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Tragedy is one of the most influential inspirations for art, including songwriting. In recent times, many artists responded to their feelings toward the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, with an abundance of artwork, poetry, and songs. One of the songs, Toby Keith's "The Angry American," may conceivably be portrayed as a summation of the artist's patriotic values in a reaction to the event. Although in initial observation it may seem as though the song attempts to also inspire patriotism in its audience, it does quite the contrary, inspiring revenge against acts that hurt or threaten the USA, namely September 11th. Patriotism is defined as positive acts of nationalistic feeling: Keith suggests, however, that vengeance or at least violence defines nationalistic feeling.

Before performing this piece, Toby Keith gave a speech about his reasons for creating the song. Although Keith states in his speech that he wrote the song following September 11th, as if for the victims of that tragedy, he in fact wrote it not as an emotional reaction toward the victims, but for his own personal feelings, including those of his father and his sacrifices in the line of duty.

In dedicating the song to his father, Keith furthers the idea that the song was written for personal reasons and not just as a response for the victims of September 11th.

Although Keith may be conceivably trying to express the idea of the USA prevailing over any evil, he conveys this idea in a violent, vengeful way. He clearly suggests the idea of America as being a country that any enemy will be "sorry that they messed with," basically saying that if you harm the USA, they'll "put a boot in your ass, it's the American way." By stating this about the USA,