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Analysis and comments on A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein

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Comment 19 of 129, added on February 11th, 2006 at 3:58 AM.

Yes, thats my name. People wonder if I am a girl or a boy if they don't
know me. I really like my name. Yes, it does make you tough.

Billie Sue Johnson from United States
Comment 18 of 129, added on February 10th, 2006 at 11:39 AM.

Now when you look at my name what comes to mind? Guy or girl? It depends on
who poeple know and their point of veiw. I personally don't know any guy
Taylor's, although I know there are some. I was given a unisex name and not
once have I ever thought about. A name is a name, it dosn't define who you
are. If my name was Bob, I would certainly try to hurt the one who gave it
to me. Shel puts a certain amount of information in a very understandable
and mabea even child like poem. Now, let me ask you, after you have read
this. Can you guess my age as well as my gender? I am 12 years old,

Taylor Smith from United States
Comment 17 of 129, added on February 1st, 2006 at 8:16 PM.

A few days ago I brought a copy of "Where The Sidewalk Ends" from a local
charity thrift shop (couldn't pass up the $1 price). My daughters (17 & 8)
and I dissolve with laughter everytime we read from it. My dad has that
Johnny Cash LP and I actually remember listening to "A Boy Named Sue"as a
child and thinking, "that's different". Now knowing that he wrote the
song/poems I can see the similar "style". Very nice!(67oF/19oC)

Gina from Bahamas
Comment 16 of 129, added on January 26th, 2006 at 11:45 PM.

My mother grew up a huge fan of Johnny Cash to the point where her family
nicknamed her Johnny. I just happen to be bored and thought I would read a
few poems from Shel Silverstein because his poems are always so interesting
in a weird sort of way. I was amazed to find out that Shel Silverstein
wrote this poem I think that my mother would love to here where the story
came from. I am so glad I found this site!

Amanda from United States
Comment 15 of 129, added on January 20th, 2006 at 3:23 PM.

I'm reading Larson's book, saw the reference to the real boy named Sue who
was one of the attorneys on the Scopes monkey trial. Does anyone know if
Silverstein new the story about the Scopes lawyer, Sue K. Hicks? The song
refers to Gatlinburg, TN and the trial was in Tennessee?

Linda from United States
Comment 14 of 129, added on November 7th, 2005 at 7:19 PM.

There really was a boy named Sue according to author Edward J. Larson in
his book, "Summer for the Gods - The Scopes Trial", page 89. He was one of
the lawyers that prosecuted John Scopes. He was named Sue by his father in
memory of the boy's mother who died during his birth.

Fred from United States
Comment 13 of 129, added on October 14th, 2005 at 5:46 AM.

As a retired English teacher I give occasional lectures to community groups
on language and related topics, one being names and their origins, and how
one's name relates to self-image. I sometimes start this lecture with a
mention of "A Boy Named Sue". Its humour lies in its absurdity - why would
the boy retain the name when he grew up, as if it was like a birthmark,
scar or other unchangeable thing? But the cleverness of the poem is of
course it isn't as absurd as all that. Names are very much a part of our
identity, given to us by those responsible for our existence, and we don't
lightly abandon or change our name. Parents often do give children awful,
pretentious or obscure names, and mostly the kids put up with them all
their life. So "A Boy Named Sue" is partly a satire on this. But surnames
can be pretty bad too - Belcher, Swindell, Coward, Ramsbottom, Death (all
of these originally had innocuous meanings, of course) - yet you'll find
plenty of people in phone books with such names. Again, our name, whatever
it is, is part of identity, and surnames in particular link us to ancestors
and present families and relatives. Silverstein of course knows these
traditions and sends them up in a marvellously humorous but basically
fairly gentle fashion.

Bill Jennings from Australia
Comment 12 of 129, added on June 28th, 2005 at 10:31 AM.

I am a high school teacher and I was looking for an entertaining poem to
discuss with my students - I found one! I will also play the song for my
kids to hear and to enjoy.

gailgw from United States
Comment 11 of 129, added on June 15th, 2005 at 11:56 AM.

Many times, I've listened to Johnny Cash do "A Boy Named Sue", had a laugh
and drove on. Not until today did I know that Shel had written the words.


Frank from United States
Comment 10 of 129, added on June 13th, 2005 at 12:30 PM.

i was realy suprised to see shel say mother fucker

Boom Wee from Israel

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Information about A Boy Named Sue

Poet: Shel Silverstein
Poem: A Boy Named Sue
Volume: sung by Johnny Cash
Year: 1969
Added: Apr 22 2004
Viewed: 69813 times

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