Bruce Springsteen’s songs are renowned for the way they tell a story. This course will tell a story, as well: of a young man from a dysfunctional family who grew up half-Irish, half-Italian, far from affluence of any kind. In fact, he once observed he didn’t even know anyone who had ever been on an airplane. Years later, he will become arguably the greatest performer in the history of rock n’ roll, a symbol of working-class America (while earning hundreds of millions of dollars), and a much sought-after endorser of presidential candidates. We will examine Springsteen’s music and his role in America’s cultural history and attempt to find, in his inspirational story, clues to what has made him the powerful and unique cultural force he has become.