What are some examples of figurative language in "I Am a Rock" by Simon and Garfunkel?

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Examples of figurative language in "I Am a Rock" by Simon and Garfunkel include alliteration ("deep and dark December"), personification ("sleeping in my memory"), and repetition ("I am a rock / I am an island"). The song's title itself is a metaphor, indicating emotional isolation and hardness. Additionally, metaphors like "fortress," "armor," and "womb" further convey the theme of self-imposed isolation and emotional protection.

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A winter's day
In a deep and dark December

This is an example of alliteration due to the repeated letter d. The same technique is used in a subsequent line—"On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow"—with its repeated f and s sounds.

Don't talk of love
Well, I've heard the word before
It's sleeping in my memory

This is an example of personification. Words cannot literally sleep, so it gives a human quality to the description. The final lines of the song ("And a rock feels no pain / And an island never cries") would also be personification, because rocks cannot feel pain as objects, and islands cannot cry because they are land, not human.

I am a rock
I am an island

This refrain is an example of repetition because it is repeated in the song.

Lastly, the lines "I am alone / Gazing from my window / To the streets below" contain an example of imagery. I can imagine being alone and looking out a window to see the streets, possibly with trees or cars outside.

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Figurative language uses metaphor and simile to convey ideas and feelings and to give descriptions. Figures of speech are not to be taken literally but can communicate pictures and emotions clearly and poetically, and song lyrics are an ideal place to find them.

The very title of this song is figurative language in the form of a metaphor. The songwriter is not saying that he is an actual, literal rock. After all, rocks cannot sing or write songs! He is saying that there is some important way in which he is rock-like.  "I am a rock" could mean "I am gray and cold" and/or "I am solid" and/or "I will not be moved."

Within the lyrics of the song, Paul Simon pairs his "I am a rock" metaphor with the line "I am an island." These two metaphors help illuminate each other's meaning.  Simon is using figurative language to describe feeling isolated and hardened. We also can clearly understand his meaning from other lyrics in the song where he says more literally, "I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain." 

We see additional use of figurative language in the song when Simon speaks of a "fortress," "armor," and a "womb." All of these nouns are used in metaphors, which can be translated into literal emotional terms in line with the primary metaphorical theme of the song - "I am a rock."

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