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Rush - Tom Sawyer - Lyrics Meaning

This song was released on the Moving Pictures album in 1981 by the Canadian rock band Rush. As the band's lyricist (and percussionist), Neil Peart created the song with the collaboration of his band mate Alex Lifeson and another Canadian lyricist, Pye Dubois. The song is about a man named Tom Sawyer who takes in his worldly experiences through the eyes of a non-conforming, free spirit. The man is looking for truth. Lead singer Geddy Lee says that "his mind is not for rent", meaning he will think on his own and not be influenced by government, media and society as he makes his way through life. His refusal to conform should not be viewed as arrogance - it is his reserve as a thinking man that protects him.

"Today's Tom Sawyer" is meant to be an everyman, but also a philosophical model for society that pushes for the next level of enlightenment, truth and rational thinking. The "space he invades" represents his daily job and the working environment that he must navigate through on his path to truth. Along the way he encounters many naysayers and obstacles that impede the path to his goal, and they are referred to as, "the friction of the day". Despite these obstacles, the man knows he will find his way with an open mind and with the knowledge that truth is out there if you look for it. The line, "He knows changes aren't permanent, but change is" means that Tom Sawyer understands he can affect change despite the guidelines and barriers setup by the influences of society. The only constant in life is that change will happen.

Meanings of other songs by Rush:
Fly by Night
The Trees

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