I am a rock When reading or listening to poetry, the main objective for me is to feel moved. Happiness, longing, sadness are some of the feelings that can be achieved just by listening to others’ words. It is within these words that creates another world, or separates us from our own. Words all have a certain kind of attachment to them, so if used properly an author can stimulate a reader beyond belief. Simon and Garfunkel were just those kinds of poets.
Their words were able to stimulate an emotion with most of their readers. Simon and Garfunkel are one of my favorite artists, and in my opinion one of the most influential lyricist of their time. In their song, “I am a rock”, they are able to make you feel and question for someone who avoiding emotional attachment, and instead of questioning what it might be like, using their words to but you in their place. From the first stanza of this song, you get put into a scene. You know almost immediately that it is about someone, and it is the middle of December, but without stating the obvious, it paints a more illustrated picture for you. The first line states, “A winters day, in a deep and dark December” and I could almost immediately feel a cool breeze around me.
When I normally think of a winter’s day, I think of people playing in the snow, and having a good time. This may be because I grew up in Southern California where there has been a lack of snow, but in my head, that is what I imagine. Having them state, in a deep and dark December, turns my attitudes to the more pessimistic way of looking at things. The image of children playing in the snow in my head has now turned to cold and dark emptiness. Reinstating my idea of emptiness, the next line follows with the simply statement, “I am alone.” Personally, I hate being alone.
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So to have the opening words place us in a deep and dark setting, and then state that you are alone, automatically puts me in a negative mindset. Then to further instate his isolation in the next stanza the narrator admits to being the source of his seclusion. The narrator claims to put walls around him, but then goes into it more to say, ” A fortress deep and mighty.” The adjectives used to exemplify his position are significant. Usually when I hear there is a wall around something, I do not get put off from it. A wall can be easily trespassed, but a fortress deep and mighty, I would not want to mess with that. It also puts a timeline on the narrator for me.
A wall is something that can be built during a short period. However, a fortress deep and mighty would take time and effort in creating. Then you find a little more about the reasoning behind the narrator’s choice on isolation stating, “I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain. Its laughter and its loving I dist ain.” You then find out that he is isolating himself to avoid friendship, since friendship causes pain. When hearing this I can only validate it off of experience. But the one word that shoots out to me in these lines is dist ain.
Disdain is such a harsh word choice, in order to dist ain something you would have to hate it with all of your heart. I just grow curious to think what would make someone dist ain something so wonderful as friendship. The third stanza clarifies again some of the reasons behind the narrators despair. He says, “Don’t talk of love, but I’ve heard the words before” telling us that he had experienced it before.
Then goes on to tell us, “It’s sleeping in my memory. I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.” This goes back to giving me a timeline. For something to be sleeping, or dead, must be in remission for a while reminding me that this could of happened a while ago. The narrator then goes to say, “If I never loved, I never would have cried”, this is a universal feeling.
“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” I believe friendship is a powerful word. It doesn’t just mean being friends with someone; it has more meaning to that. We all choose who we want as friends, we all ...
I cannot even imagine how many times I have heard, or have questioned myself, is it better to have loved and lost then to not love at all. If you have never loved, you would never have to experience the agony of loss, but is it worth it not to feel the astonishing feeling of love. In the narrator’s case, he chooses to protect himself from pain, rather than to love again. In the forth stanza, I feel like it is almost like the narrator is trying to convince me that what he is doing is okay.
” I have my books, and my poetry to protect me; I am shielded in my armor”, saying that he does not need anything else in the world. His books and poetry will be what protects him from the world, and the experience of living in it. He then goes on to tell us, “Hiding in my room, safe within my womb, I touch no one and no one touches me.” This line shows me weakness in the narrator. When he says hiding in my room, a shock rolls over me.
To hide is to run away from something, and to be afraid, and in the beginning of the song, he seems strong and frigid about himself and now he is hiding. When stating safe within my womb, it makes me relate him to a mere baby, a baby helpless in its mother’s womb. His sense of strength and stubbornness that I felt in the beginning has now pretty much vanished to me feeling sympathy for him. In between all of the stanzas, the chorus runs, “I am a rock, I am an island.” When I first heard this, I had a hint of confusion. I did not understand why would someone want to be a rock, or an island.
However, the last two lines of the song put it into perspective for me. The last two lines state, “And a rock feels no pain’ and an island never cries.” These two lines, to me, are the most powerful lines in the song. The narrator strives to be these to objects to drive him as far as he can from feeling the pain and hardship he felt before. Wanting to be a rock, to me, is wanting its strength.
A rock is solid, and tough, and if you yourself are solid and tough, you will not feel pain, physical pain that is. However, an Island is a different story. An island, is land that is surrounded by water, it stands alone. This is exactly what the narrator wants. Earlier in the song, the narrator states, if I have never loved, I never cried. The island cannot love, because it is alone, and if you cannot love, then you should not cry.
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I understand why he would want to inherit the qualities of these objects, somewhat ostracizing himself more so then he did before. In Simon and Garfunkel’s song “I am a rock”, they use a strong word and tone choice to create sympathy within you, and for some empathy with the narrator. I love this song, for the simple fact that it moves me. It starts emotion in me, not only from experiences in my own life, but thinking possibly about others.
The subject matter really has a hold on me, and gets me every time.