How much change is enough change? How much change is not enough change? What if you lived your whole life longing for change, only to find things getting worse and worse? So many questions, but not enough answers. While some may say we determine our own faith, others may say God determines our faith, or other higher powers which whom they may believe in. With that being said, who really determines change? After so long we get tired, tired of waiting for something that may never happen. Change is what we all long for, but who is really willing to make a change? Although, very few people throughout history tried to bring change amongst the world, who has truly succeeded? Samuel Cooke, known as Sam Cooke, also known as one of the” pioneers and founders of soul music”, stated by the Biography Channel Website, introduces us to his struggle during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in his popular hit song “Change is Gonna Come.” Cooke strongly relayed his feelings to the world in just a few short verses. Change, change, change is all he speaks of during the song, but was he really taking the steps necessary for change to actually occur? I believe change starts with one person at a time, and that one person must overcome the obstacles within themselves before change can occur around them.
Sam Cooke introduces the listener to this song by informing us of the struggle he has been facing since birth. That is to say, ever since he took his first breath of life, he had to deal with adversity. “I was born by the river in a little tent, and just like that river, I’ve been running ever since” (1-2) Cooke uses personification during this verse, giving human like characteristics to the river. As we all know, a river cannot actually run like a human. Cooke also uses a simile poetic device to exemplify the correlation of his life and the river. Cooke compares his life to the river, symbolizing the fact that a river goes fast and slow, the river makes turns, goes through rocks, even hills and valleys; But one thing about the river, it never changes, it always stays it course. Even though Sam’s life was rigid at times, he never lost hope, he kept his composure. The line “It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die’/Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky.”(5-6) justifies how hard life is on earth, so hard that it is sometimes tough to believe that things will either be easier or harder once we die. Cooke continuously reverts back to the fact that a change will come. “I go to the movie and I go downtown/ somebody keeps telling me, “Don’t hang around.”” (9-10). Subsequently, this line designates the era when African Americans were not granted the privilege of hanging around. Cooke obviously longed for a change in his life, community, and race. This line gives reference to the unacceptable feelings Cooke had towards the unfair life he was living. Cooke’s tone remained optimistic, although conditions were not changing as he wished.
Particularly, Cooke was not happy about how he was living, but he knew his situation was going to shift in a positive way. He thought he could not surrogate from the position alone, so what did he do? Cooke tried to pursue help, help from anyone that would listen. In the line “Then I go to my brother/ And I say “Brother, help me please”/ “But he winds up knocking me back down on my knees.” (13-16) Cooke is turned down by his own family. At this point he is filling much deprived from freedom of his own life. “Oh there been…