Nobody much understands Bob Dylan.
He's just a singer that can't sing to some, a writer that doesn't know how to edit to others. He plays the guitar like he just bought it, and plays the harmonica like he just rented it. You're missing the point.
Bob Dylan is a scholar. He's a scholar of the American song. That makes him a scholar of the the American condition. And like real scholars, he's lost himself among the things he studied until he's gone into them. He's a self-invented person. Bobby Zimmerman don't live here no more.
I can't think of anybody's opinion about Woody Guthrie I'd rather hear. Woody was the scholar of the American condition before Bob Zimmerman, and Bob Dylan in due time, was born. God bless 'em both:
Woody Guthrie was a pacifist. Ain't we all? World War Two came, and he wrote: "This machine kills fascists" on his guitar, and joined the merchant marine.
Sometimes pacifists got a gun. Sometimes, singers can't sing much.