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Coal Miner's Daughter

Coal Miner's Daughter


by Loretta Lynn


Some people say that when Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield, he based the main character on his own life story. Same goes for Tennessee Williams' play, "A Streetcar Named Desire". Loretta Lynn has some songs like this—fictionalized or semi-fictionalized accounts of things that are really personal to her. Most of her songs draw from some real part of her life experience.

But "Coal Miner's Daughter" isn't just a song based on or inspired by Lynn's personal experience. Instead, the song is directly about her personal experience: it tells the real story of Lynn's life growing up. It is true autobiography, closer to The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin or even The Diary of Anne Frank than David Copperfield. 

As one of the best-known female country singers ever, Lynn paved the way for other women to sing songs about their own personal stories. When you hear Taylor Swift singing about being "a careless man's careful daughter", or Dolly Parton riffing on heartbreak or hard work, the inspiration and influence of "Coal Miner's Daughter" is probably there.

Compare and contrast Lynn's coal miner poetry with other poems by coal miners and their families published on a Kentucky coal mining website.

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