Simon & Garfunkel: I Am A Rock Meaning
Song Released: 1966
I Am A Rock Lyrics
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may...
anonymous Nov 26th 2005, 22:03 report
This song is about a person who was deeply hurt by either friends or love (or both). He or she runs for the safety of solitude. He or she loses themselves in studies of literature and art. The song is an allegory of building walls when one is hurt.
anonymous Jun 26th 2009, 09:19 report
The song points out the emotional cost of living, no matter what you do:
If you trust and open yourself up to others, you expose yourself to the cost of being hurt
If you want to avoid that by withdrawing, hiding behind your defenses, and alienating yourself, then the cost will be loneliness and sadness, because in the end we need others to validate our worth
From this perspective, you can't win: winter, dark, alone, silence, shroud, pain. What a bummer...
The morale? While others can and will hurt us, that's better than the alternative
anonymous Dec 3rd 2012, 08:48 report
This is the best description of Asperger's Syndrome I have ever come by in the rock music.
I mean, this song describes exactly my feelings and how I feel inside. I just want to be alone, I need solitude and I feel myself alien in company. Aspergers usually have very poor social skills and manage to either irritate or drive away people around them, causing unease to other people and sorrow to themselves.
I am very uneasy in crowd, and I prefer being alone. Hearing laughter makes me feel I am laughed upon, and I am unable to feel love as neurotypical people are. I rather prefer reading a good book or writing a sarcastic and witty poem rather than going to party. For me, intellectual pursuits provide far more satisfaction than sex.
Asperger's is far more prevalent amongst the Jews than amongst any other nation. Both Simon and Garfunkel are Jews. Scandinavians and Finns are also well represented amongst Aspergers. I can well relate to what Paul Simon writes.
anonymous Aug 5th 2012, 12:39 report
I think this song is about a person who has been hurt in the past and wants to run away from events like this happening in the future by isolating himself and not allowing himself to get attached to others. "I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died. If I never loved I never would have cried." "I have no need for friendship. Friendship causes pain."
The part where he says "I've built walls, a fortress deep and mighty" and "hiding in my room safe within my womb" shows that he is isolating himself by perhaps staying indoors. In the first few lines it talks about him gazing from his window. The upbeat tune of the song suggests that he's using stubborness to hide his lonely feelings.
This song is fantastic. I can relate to it.
anonymous Mar 13th 2012, 19:08 report
This is the same person who mentioned that Garfunkle might have been an Asperger, and is also a responce to the person who brought up Asperger's Syndrome and Autism:
You wrote: "(1 in 110 kids have and autism specrum disorder. Just ten years ago, it was like 1 in 100*, and Thirty years ago it was 1 in 2500 or something like that.)"
*I think you ment that ten years ago the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder was 1 in 1000, not 1 in 100. Sorry if pointing this out looks rude or nit-picky. I'm not trying to be rude, because I know it's a easy typo to make-I just wanted to clarify the rate to highlight that the previlency of Autism is increasing dramatically, from being 1 in 1,000 ten years ago to 1 in 110 today.
anonymous Mar 13th 2012, 19:00 report
To the person who interepreted this song as being about Autism/Asperger's Syndrome; I think your insight is quite valid, actually. There are many people who beleive that Art Garfunkle might have been an Asperger. I know that Simon wrote most of the songs, but it's possible that many of them, including this one, were influenced by his relationship with Garfunkle. It is possible that this song has to do with how Simon veiwed his potentially Aspie friend Garfunkle.
anonymous Mar 6th 2012, 20:01 report
This song isn't probably intentionally about this, but I'm thinking Asperger's Syndrome. For those of you who don't know, it's a form of High-functioning Autism. A lot of people havn't heard of it, because a kid with Asperger's Syndrome dosn't appear to be autistic unless you really know what autism is. So most people don't realize their disabled, and they're often not diagnosed untill late in their Elementary School carrer. Basically, Asperger's Syndrom is all the people who as kids were(or are) labled as 'weird' and shoved aside by everyone else.
Kids on the autism spectrum are unable to pick up on social cues that are natural instinct to everyone else. (i.e facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, ect.) I know there are 'normal' people who can't do that, but an autistic person is significantly impared in this area. So socializing is difficult, making friends often ends with tears. "If I never loved I never would have cried."
Sometimes they appear to be stoic and hard, with little emotion or care to interact with others, mostly because they are rarely succesful at doing so, and just end up frusterated and hurt. Thus, "I am a rock.
Kids with autism/Asperger's sometimes tend to isolate themselves in thier own little world to avoid the frustration and confusion of the rest of the world. Thus, "I am an Island."
"I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb."
This one is what really got me thinking about this song as autism/asperger's. It is somewhat literal: People with autism/Asperger's are known to have abnormal facinations on specific topics, and spend abnormal amounts of time hidden in thier room reaserching them. Often, though they want friends, they simply cannot make them, and instead lose themselves in their own little world by absorbing themselves in books, or poetry, or reaserch.
"I touch no one and no one touches me."
This one is also a huge indicator of my theory, (if you take it literally): Kids with Asperger's/Autism often find serious discomfert in being touched by others. Even little things like a pat on the back, or when someone brushes against them in a busy hallway.
"It's laughter and loving I distain."
Laughter, because the other kids are usually laughing at him/her for being awkward. Loving because other kids can seem to love accept eachother, but not him/her.
The song probably isn't actually about Asperger's Syndrome, because the disorder hasn't gained much momentum untill recently, (1 in 110 kids have and autism specrum disorder. Just ten years ago, it was like 1 in 100, and Thirty years ago it was 1 in 2500 or something like that.)so the wave of Asperger's kids wasn't really around at that time. At the time, they were just the socially isolated weirdos, or the obnoxious weirdos, or the clumsy awkward kids. So at the time, it was probably intended to be about people who have been isolated by their peers, ie loners and nerds who in most cases are really people on the autism spectrum. I don't think a lot of people realize this, though.
anonymous Sep 12th 2011, 13:36 report
If you think of yourself as a rock and a island in your mind you separate yourself of being human, and you would use it as a defense mechanism to suppress your painful emotions and avoid dealing with them, it is a common truth that whatever relationship we get ourselves involved in we will suffer adversity from it at some point, so this song is a story about a Man who can not deal with life and people anymore and wants to hide from the world and everyone in it, because he doesn't know how to deal nor cope with his feelings, rejection and conflict with others so his solution is seclusion and to fantasize of being an object that has no emotions.
anonymous Aug 18th 2011, 10:02 report
The song "I Am a Rock" is clearly about a guy who decides to insulate and protect himself in order to keep from being hurt--a sort of tough-guy facade.
anonymous May 25th 2011, 21:05 report
the song is about a person isolating himself from others to avoid being hurt. A rock is cold and hard to affect and an island is isolated.
anonymous May 8th 2011, 23:01 report
I think that this is about someone who has been deeply hurt and is determined not to be hurt again. He thinks that cutting himself off from everyone is the way to accomplish that, and while he may be right, as an earlier poster said, that isn't living.
anonymous May 25th 2009, 10:09 report
it is a goood song that expresses a hurt mans' feelings, i think that he got hurt by a woman because he speaks of love, or maybe he got hurt by a true friend.... i know what that feels like... i can relate
anonymous May 10th 2009, 14:41 report
I think this song is a complete satire about a person who gets hurt and decides to shut off the rest of the world because it's just not worth the pain.
But I think Paul Simon is mimicking people who live this way. In fact, I think the message behind the song is to understand that you're going to get hurt but that love and laughter are worth it.
I love the song, it's really great to scream to if you're upset. I'm actually going to get "I am a rock" tattooed on me.
To understand this song you MUST read John Donne's Mediatation XVII from Devotions Upon Emergent Occations. The main reference is in the middle of the work. "No man is an island, entire of itself". Donne was very ill at the time of this writing and thought he was dieing. This work also contains the familiar quote, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind: and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee". "A winter's day in deep and dark December" refers to death and "shroud" also is a reference to this.
Also the "books" and "poetry" are interesting parallels. Meditation XVII refers also to a book. "...all mankind is of one author and is one volumn..." also Donne wrote some of the most beautifully sensual love poetry in the English language. (See Elegy XIX - "To His Mistress Going to Bed".)
Donne ends this writing with a thought on pain. "...[A]ffliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God..." The change in mode of the song's last two lines reflects this maturing from a juvenile selfish "me" to a realization of a mature interconnected "us."
And talk about pain and isolation. Donne went to Fleet Prison for secretly marrying his love.
Or ... Paul could have just been pissed at getting dumped!
anonymous Jul 14th 2008, 21:27 report
Obviously he's been hurt, but this song comes across to me as pure denial. He goes on and on about how secure and strong he is, but it's presented in such a sad and somber tone. He declares his strength, but it's pure facade.
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