Bringing Change to the Society in Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

Categories: Man in The MirrorSong


"Man in the Mirror" was a song by Michael Jackson and was released in 1988. The song talks about making a positive impact and personal redemption to the world. Michael Jackson explains that changing the world is possible, and it can start from a single individual who will then inspire others to spread it across the globe (Brinn). In the song, there are a lot of social issues that he refers to, but the one that stood out was poverty.

No One is Going to Do Anything

According to Michael Jackson, the values and norms in society are violated by individuals with no change being made at all.

In the first verse, the singer states that "I'm gonna to make a change / For once in my life" which describes the possibility that it is not too late to change, but the change is required to be made immediately (Michael Jackson). Later in the same verse, it states, "I see the kids in the streets / with not enough to eat," which indicates that there are homeless children in the streets that have nothing to eat because they cannot afford them and no one is going to do anything about the situation (Michael Jackson).

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This shows that the values of society are not being followed; that is why all of those things are happening. This indicates the level of poverty that is experienced by other individuals in society.

Starting From Oneself

Even though society defies values and norms, the individuals affected should just lift themselves for real change.

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Such a change would bring an end to their suffering. The verse "A widow deeply scared, somebody's broken heart" also explains the way in which the society is failing to act coherently and sanely that was once viewed by the society to be correct ("Michael Jackson") Such actions aimed at affirming the way people fail to live up to the norms of society. According to Clennon and Boehm, notes that the rules of conduct are much similar to the norms. They give suggestions on the way individuals should be acting in a given society (Clennon and Boehm). In "Man in the Mirror," such rules of conduct play a significant role in questioning some of the actions that violate certain norms in society. Additionally, an infringement of the norms and values of the society is also evident in verse, "It's time that I realize" (Michael Jackson). Here, the song says that one should not pretend to be blind. The society is aware of how other individuals suffer. For this reason, everyone must act quickly, starting with themselves, to help others in society.

The song symbolizes the fact that all individuals in the world are not the same, and life is hard for other members of society. The song describes a man trying to change his ways before embarking on the journey to make a change in the world. One thing that is clear in the song is that several issues have been addressed to bring a call to action, but no one seemed to care. For example, it was necessary to offer food and shelter to the homeless children, but nothing was being done. Because of that, Michael Jackson felt the need and desire to make a change in the world by starting with himself.

"Man in the Mirror" is a reflection of what individuals are struggling with to becoming better with upholding morals in society. The song raises issues such as the role of an individual making a change in the world, and if changing oneself can change the way the world is for the better (Brinn). The audience of the song is also subjective. For instance, one of the song's purposes was to inspire others to help themselves before helping others. This is indicated by the lines where Michael Jackson says that he will make a change.


Furthermore, personification is used by the writer in "my mind is being blown by the wind." Here, the wind is given some qualities of humans by the utilization of the word "blowing." It serves as imagery for portraying his state of mind. Rhetorically, the writer questions himself, "Who am I to be blind." This sentence acts as a figurative language hence a metaphor. Even though the writer compares himself to the blind people, he is not blind himself. Probably, the writer has seen such street children on several occasions.

The Similar Songs by Christina Aguilera and Matthew West

Similar to Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror," Christina Aguilera in her song named "Change" and Matthew West in his song "Do Something" were also about making a change in the world to make it better for all individuals. Michael Jackson was a multi-talented musical entertainer who became the best American songwriter and dancer in the United States. He was born in a modest African-American family in 1958 and started his music career at the age of 5 years ( Through his music, he has changed, influenced, and inspired others in ways unimaginable. Christina Aguilera, on the other hand, was born in 1980 to parents with a German origin. She lived together with her family, which she alleged said that her father was abusive. Her parents later divorced. She had a dream to become a singer, and in her music, she stated that her music included portions of her personal life, something she did to inform others that they are not alone. Matthew West was born in 1977 and started as an independent musician late 1990s as a contemporary Christian singer. He played baseball and hoped to get a scholarship to Baseball College but ended up getting music scholarship.


"Man in the Mirror" carries a lot of social concepts, among others. The song focuses on the idea that concerns the reality of social construction. It shows that there are things that required to be changed, but it needed to start from each individual for it to be realized. Artists like Matthew West and Christina Aguilera have talked about the same issue of change in their songs. "Man in the Mirror" was an excellent because it brings attention to how poorly society is working, and it aims to inspire others to bring change in the society.

Works Cited

  • Brinn, Alan. "Michael Jackson: ‘Man in the Mirror' Lyric Analysis.", 8 Dec. 2016,
  • Clennon, Ornette, and Carola Boehm. 'Young Musicians for Heritage Project: Can A Music-Based Heritage Project Have a Positive Effect on Well-Being?' Music Education Research, vol. 16, no. 3, 2014, pp. 7-9. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/14613808.2014.909395
  • "Michael Jackson Is Born.", A&E Television Networks, 4 Mar. 2010,
    "Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror." Genius, 16 Jan. 1988,
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Bringing Change to the Society in Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. (2024, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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