Simon & Garfunkel: I Am A Rock Meaning
Song Released: 1966
Get "I Am A Rock" on MP3:Get MP3 from Amazon
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 11:03pm 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 6:19am 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 Mar 6th, 2012 3:01pm 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 Jun 15th, 2019 6:09am report
Only Simon knows. The rest are hacks.
anonymous Jun 18th, 2017 6:31am report
This song is about a recluse locking himself away from the world. When he says, "I am a rock, I am an island," he means away from everything and everyone. It's far from autobiographical, as Paul Simon was doing his best to write a hit song with this effort, and didn't write it for himself. The use of the word "rock" is interesting in that Simon considered himself a folk singer, and didn't associate himself with rock music. In the vast majority of songs with the word "rock" in the lyrics, it is used to imply music or lifestyle, but for Simon, it was just a piece of stone. He did the same thing in 1973 for his song "Loves Me Like A Rock."
anonymous Jul 13th, 2016 7:08pm report
It is EMILY DICKINSON...
kooljohn176 Aug 26th, 2015 8:20pm report
One of my first albums bought was Simon and Garfunkel greatest hits. This song could also be about a Immigrant or an Alien with a green card that can relate alot more in trying to adapt to The New World culture of the land he came to live in in that sometimes contradicts the family values he was brought up in. He can find himself being an introvert more unreal with his feelings that can harden like a rock from the culture shock of bulling him to the point that hardens him to feel like he is becoming his own god as a rock to survive by believing in his books and his poetry to use as a shield to protect him that can lead him back deeper in the old faith of The Words Of Love he once knew or it would be sad if he falls to stay harden into Atheism of Narcissim.
anonymous Oct 7th, 2014 10:39pm report
The insight of the person who wrote on Asperger's is quite on the spot. Feelings I suffered all my life, and finally figured I had this.. funny thought it was because I am Irish. Some who read this do not grasp the disorder. I felt lonely all my life, was smart, but clumsy, only wanted one friend at at time. Never fit in socially but was a good person. Most do not have empathy for others or do not understand it totally. Feel left out of everything. My grandson is a genius, taught himself to read at 2 years old. Parent did not even know he could read until someone pointed it out. Loner, just like me. I learned to read at four, but mom taught me. Just never fit in with anyone. I am a grandmother now. And I think my grandson may have signs of it or autism, but not straight up autism. He learned sign language when he was too young to talk and used it to speak. Wow! I am still amazed. We have Mthfr gene mutation in our family as well. Don't know if that contributes to it.. However, I can relate to this song too well.
Instead of zebras I choose to see horses ~ In Paul Simon's own words f rom 1965 "Artie likes to call this my most neurotic song yet... it is a song about loneliness" ~ not too much of a stretch when you think how hard his childhood and teen years must have been... the musically gifted boy poet who never broke 5'3" in height... it's the perfect recipe for an adolescence of melancholy and escape and we the public have been the beneficiaries ~
anonymous May 11th, 2014 5:14am report
My son (an aspie) and I discussed this song last night and he offered an interesting observation.I agree it is the most profound description of Aspergers I think I have ever read. And the words at first appear despondent. But the music tells us it is not so horrible after all. "I am a rock" (I am strong) I have my books to protect me (I can find other enjoyments in life) "Hiding in my room, safe within my womb" (I like being alone and my room is my haven). That doesn't mean that Aspies don't want to interact at all. Its just that it can be hurtful and frustrating when you are really not able to pick up on social cues and come across as weird because of it. So you isolate yourself. But you find other things to compensate. Many aspies have made significant contributions to the world. Einstein and Newton apparently had Asperger's.
anonymous Mar 12th, 2014 3:01pm report
It is the feeling inside that the author feels. It tells you the feelings of a rock. Loneliness and sullen
anonymous Sep 28th, 2013 9:12am report
my mum past away yesterday first song on the radio this morning thought it was a message from her to me. took care of her last few week of her life. confuse when listen to the whole song again.
I can't help but think of another of their songs to go with this one. The sounds of silence.
I think it's a common thing for people to balance the need for insulation from pain with the need for company. If this song was about a small portion of society, or some particular group, it would never have been so popular.
I think this song protests the space between us all, and suggests that we might risk a little pain to connect with each other.
anonymous Dec 3rd, 2012 12:48am 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 8:39pm 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 3:08pm 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 3:00pm 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 Sep 12th, 2011 9:36pm 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.
More Simon & Garfunkel song meanings »
Submit Your Interpretation
|Still The One||anonymous|
|everything i wanted||anonymous|
|She's Not Afraid||anonymous|
|Na Na Na||anonymous|
|You Raise Me Up||anonymous|
|I Know It's Over||anonymous|