What does America mean?

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Simon & Garfunkel: America Meaning

Song Released: 1972


Covered By: Yes


America Lyrics

America - 1968

“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together
I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner’s pies
And walked off to look for America

“Kathy,” I said, as we boarded a...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Aug 9th 2012 report

    I agree with the people who say the narrator and his girlfriend are not connecting or have a superfical relationship ("Let us be lovers/We'll marry our fortunes together"), but I also think that we have something in common. They are both lost ("Kathy I'm lost and I don't know why"), I think he doesn't understand why he is not satisfied with his life, so he's gone off to look from America, America symbolizing happiness or fulfillness. All the people at the New Jersey turnpike that are "looking for America" are just trying to find what makes them happy in life, looking for everything America has to offer.

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 18th report

    For me the song pinpoints that moment in our youth when we believe the answer to our boredom is to hit the road and see what's out there. No plan, just make it up as we go along. Here, the context is the US greyhound bus version of that.

    The excitement wears off when you realise it's one city after another and you soon become another small detail in a shifting backdrop of forgettable trivia. Being in transit for the sake of it produces the thing you were trying to get away from: boredom.

  3. genxmom
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    Aug 8th report

    I think the song's lyrics are typically meaningful and poetic of Simon and Garfunkle - a mirror of the times of the 60's and 70's. Two people, traveling on a road trip, free and unencumbered as so many of this generation's young life was in those days. The "hippie" generation of the 70's searching for meaning, rejecting their parents' values but not really knowing where the true ideals are. God answered them in the "Jesus Movement" and what many called "Jesus Freaks" of the Charismatic Movement changing society and many of the young peoples' lives, mine included. Another searching generation is here now. They will not find fulfillment or truth in evolution, utopians, or any other ideology but Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. He loves you. He formed you. He has a plan for your life.

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2019 report

    Young people traveling together, discovering realties of friendship. Gotta move on. I like this song

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 19th 2017 report

    A song about a Couple who are being disillusioned and lost, living in America. They're soul searching and traveling on Their journey throughout America. Wanting to see and maybe find out what does it mean to be an American or become an American in America. All the while having little trust of strangers that They might be spies undercover, from the Old Country that escaped to America.

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 12th 2011 report

    Even American hippys[people daring to question] are endoctrinated to pursue the "American Dream", loving relationship,dowrys]pursuing spoils[material posessions] of our domain[where-ever that is].
    Paralleling the "Pursuit" are all the injustices & less fortunate.
    Consequently we live illusioned.

  7. anonymous
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    Mar 3rd 2007 report

    This song also shows a great deal of how the late 60s generation was paranoid about their surroundings and especially the government.
    'She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
    I said "Be careful his bowtie is really a camera" '
    That line alone shows the distrust in strangers, and the rest of the song is filled with a pessimistic view of what America really was/is.

  8. anonymous
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    Aug 6th 2006 report

    I agree generally with the above interpretation, but I also think that the reason for the travelling of the young couple is that they want to get out of where they live and see america together, rather than it being a "play act". But the journey turns out not to be as exciting as they thought it would be, and the mundane things from their homelife (such as not having any cigarettes left) still exist even though they're travelling all over the country, and the couple become disillousioned

  9. JonahFalcon
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    May 19th 2006 report

    Another song by Simon & Garfunkel about lack of communication, this is about the protagonist and his girlfriend Kathy riding on a Greyhound bus travelling through the Midwest. But while they have fun, playing games and relating superficial problems (like running out of cigarettes), they're still not connecting on a deeper level -- the only time the protagonist relates something heartfelt and close to his soul ("Kathy, I'm lost. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why"), he can only do it while she's sleeping and unable to hear him. Even their reason for travelling is superficial, a play act ("Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together") -- there's no depth to their relationship. The song compares the two to the thousands of other couples travelling on the road.


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