and how she and bobby started their affair

My Interpretation of “4th Time Around” by Bob Dylan

Ok, so after having heard this song literally back to back on repeat, I sense this song is talking about Edie Sedgwick. Who knows. Bob likes mixing things up when he writes. One line could be about a certain girl and the other could be about someone or something else. Anyway, the reason why I think it could be inspired by Edie is because the woman’s behavior in the song is very Edie Sedgwick. Though, the parts that really convinced me was, “..Out of that picture of you in your wheelchair,” and “I never asked for your crutch, now don’t ask for mine.” Edie was in a car accident on New Years Eve of ‘64, a week or two after having met Bob Dylan. She walked in crutches and was in a wheelchair for a short time, subsequent to the car accident. So of course this lasted months for her to heal up and I think after, that was when Bob and Edie’s affair started to really get intimate. And as for “the picture of you in your wheelchair” I believe Edie might’ve had a framed picture of herself in her bedroom, when she was still in a wheelchair. Also, on that same day on New Years Eve, her brother Bobby died in a motorcycle accident and I feel like Edie practically told Bob about her family’s lifestyle and how she was practically doomed. I think she saw Bob as someone who could help her through it, but he saw it as being too needy and time consuming, to the point of not being able to take her emotional outbreaks anymore. That’s why I think the “I never asked for your crutch, now don’t ask for mine” thing is about that. Aside from all that, the song is titled “4th Time Around”, or to be more specific, the fourth time he’s slept with this woman. The first lyrics of the song are:

“When she said, ‘Don’t waste your words, they’re just lies,’ I cried, she was deaf. And she worked on my face until breaking my eyes, then she said,’What else you got left?’ It was then that I got up to leave, but she said,’Don’t forget. Everybody must give something back for something they get.’”

This is pretty easy to interpret. Basically they just made love and are lying in this chick’s bed (or it is the next morning of their previous night of sleeping together) and this chick is letting Bob know how she feels, but he’s not serious about this “relationship” at all and she wants it to be taken seriously. The whole “I cried, she was deaf” I think is suppose to be taken sarcastically. She gets offended (i think the woman is drunk bc later in the song it mentions ‘jamaican rum’ but we’ll get to that later) ok, so she gets offended and starts working on his face” (slapping/hitting) “until breaking his eyes” (black eye?) “and she says,’What else you got left?” And then when he felt the need to just get up and head for the door, she told him,”Everybody must give something back for something they get.” Which means, “Alright, if you’re just going to treat me like a slut, you’re going to have to give me something in return.” and that leads to the next portion of the lyrics:

“I stood there and hummed, I tapped on her drum, I asked her,’How come?’ And she buttoned her boot, and straightened her suit, then she said,’Don’t get cute.’ So I forced my hands in my pockets and felt with my thumbs. And I gallantly handed her my very last piece of gum.”

As she was dressing, Bob says,”Why do I need to give you something in return?” It’s a very cunning way of saying, “Isn’t this enough? Just having a good time?” and she responds with “Don’t be cute.” So Bob, being the asshole that he is, reaches inside his pockets for a FUCKING piece. of. gum. to give to her in return. The chick OBVIOUSLY gets pissed off and throws him out. Keep in mind, Bob hasn’t even put on his shirt, yet:

“She threw me outside, I stood in the dirt where everyone walked. And after finding out I’ve forgotten my shirt, I went back and knocked. I waited in the hallway, she went to get it, and I tried to make sense of that picture of you in your wheelchair that leaned up against her Jamaican rum.”

Bob gets thrown out and knocks on her door. The rum bottle by the framed picture is evidence that the woman is drunk, or they both are quite intoxicated. But I feel like, “I tried to make sense of that picture of you on your wheelchair that leaned up against your Jamaican Rum.” could be taken metaphorically, in depth of saying how she drinks to cure her misery “picture of you in your wheelchair” is her misfortunes (like Edie):

“Her Jamaican rum, and when she did come, I asked her for some. She said,’No, dear.’ I said, ‘Your words aren’t clear. You better spit out your gum.’ She screamed till her face got so red then she fell on the floor. And I covered her up and then thought I go look through her drawer.”

While Bob goes asking for his shirt, he asks her for some of her rum and tries to work things out. The chick wasn’t having it, after he’d practically offended her enough. She tells him “No, dear.” and Bob says,”Your words aren’t clear. You better spit out your gum.” and then,”She screamed till her face got so red, then she fell on the floor. And I covered her up and then thought I go look through her drawer.” This all sounds so much like Edie but idk. Bob’s kind enough to cover her up I guess but then he goes looking through her drawer. There could a lot of possibilities as to why exactly he goes looking through her drawer while she’s drunk. That line is pretty vague. Only Bob knows why he did, so I can’t really say lol. And now lastly:

“And when I was through, I filled up my shoe and brought it to you. And you, you took me in. You loved me then. You didn’t wast time. And I, I never took much. I never asked for your crutch, now don’t ask for mine.”

Idk what to really get out of “I filled up my shoe and brought it to you.” but as for “And you, you took me in. You loved me then. You didn’t wast time.” The woman took him in (for sex) and didn’t waste time, in which I think means she was very aggressive and eager when it came down to it and Bob gave her the same in return and nothing more. “And I, I never took much.” And then the crutch thing just means he never intended to be her aid and never asked for her help, so why should she ask for his?