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My Little Town...Simon and Garfunkel

Kevin Witt

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As an in class assignment when I was a senior in high school...the teacher played My Little Town and asked us to analyze what the songwriter was feeling....I was the only one in the class that said he had some fond feelings for the town. I especially concentrated on him riding his bike past the factories....that's because that's what i did every day and I still have fond memories of it...and we were all still sitting in that town as we did this assignment.

So i argued and never gave in:

My Little Town

In my little town

I grew up believing

God keeps his eye on us all

And he used to lean upon me

As I pledged allegiance to the wall

Lord I recall

My little town

Coming home after school

Flying my bike past the gates

Of the factories

My mom doing the laundry

Hanging our shirts

In the dirty breeze

And after it rains

There’s a rainbow

And all of the colors are black

It’s not that the colors aren’t there

It’s just imagination they lack

Everything’s the same

Back in my little town

In my litle town

I never meant nothin’

I was just my father’s son

Saving my money

Dreaming of glory

Twitching like a finger

On the trigger of a gun

Leaving nothing but the dead and dying

Back in my little town

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I grew up in a little town that became a big town - and it now running completely amok with the growth. But I digress.

I've heard that people who grow up in small towns feel stifled, restricted, a lot of times, and they can't wait to get out. But that's not to say that their childhoods weren't happy... which is how I interpret this song. He had a great childhood that was great when he was a child, but once he got older it started feeling oppressive, and now looking back that's how he thinks of things.

Another Paul Simon song: Everything looks worse in black and white.

That explains a lot.

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I still say there is something to the gun reference. Almost like he got himself into big trouble after attempting to escape not only his hometown but also his father's shadow.

I am probably way off though. Maybe Paul is a songfacts member and will let us know if there is any significance to the gun metaphor.

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  • 8 years later...
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I just heard this song driving home from the gym this morning. I forgot that I knew it, and when I first heard it, I was in that town and still living there and didn't appreciate its meaning. The "twitching like the finger on the trigger of a gun" to me is just an extreme and vivid way to describe the restlessness the narrator feels because he grew up in a place that he didn't belong in and was desperate to escape. The narrator is fond of his childhood. There was no violence or trauma. It was just gray and dull and stifling and he couldn't express himself there the way he wanted to. I so relate to the line "nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town." This not only refers to the people who still live there, but also to the memories of the people who shaped the narrator's life. All my relatives and many of the teachers and coaches and the other people I knew from my little town are gone now, and the crescendo of the ending really drives the point home.

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