"Saul Bellow" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
What's the worth of
All the work of my hands?
And the worst of
On Lake Michigan

Getting solid walls with the know-it-alls
Get in trouble with Saul Bellow
Getting solid walls with the know-it-alls
Get in trouble with Saul Bellow

And my good friends
With their eyes on what it takes
I could kiss them
But the reeling's make mistakes

Getting solid walls with the know-it-alls
Get in trouble with Saul Bellow
Getting solid walls with the know-it-alls
Get in trouble with Saul Bellow

Getting solid walls and with what it calls
Get in trouble with Saul Bellow
Getting solid walls with the know-it-alls
Get in trouble with Saul Bellow



Lyrics submitted by evanreyes

"Saul Bellow" as written by Sufjan Stevens

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Saul Bellow song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationWell, I don't know about 'get in walls', but 'with the know-it-alls' might definitely have something to do with all the intellectuals that populate Bellow's novels. "The worst of on Lake Michigan" might have something to do with Bellow's treatment of the "Chicago condition"; poverty, gangsters, thugs, alienation, etc. "The work of my hands" does definitely seem biblical, and it is just the kind of biblical theme that Bellow's work was all about.
    The verse 'and my good friends... but the bravest make mistakes' would be kind of like some Bellow themes, but mainly in the way that a lot of good literature is about friendship and mistakes.
    As for why he might be in trouble with Saul Bellow, well, it's an imperative, he's saying 'get in trouble with Saul Bellow', not 'I got in trouble with Saul Bellow', so maybe he's saying to the listener "Hey, go read some Saul Bellow, get in the troubles and tribulations of the human (Illinos) condition that he's talking about! And while you're at it, you'll be getting in solid walls with the know it alls too, because reading Saul Bellow is like reading a goddamn egghead encyclopedia!"

    egghead encyclopedia, thats right
    walkabouteron October 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. This is one of my favorite songs on The Avalanche.
    nickthunder131on June 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy is it here Saul Bellow? What is the "trouble" with him?
    probertojon June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy is it here Saul Bellow? What is the "trouble" with him?
    probertojon June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy is it here Saul Bellow? What is the "trouble" with him?
    probertojon June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell I looked up Saul bellow and if you go to wikipedia.com and search for him, read the criticism section. It seems to tell about the trouble/controversy he caused. he also taught in schools so i suppose thats why sufjan says get in solid walls with the know-it-alls. I think its "get in" not "Getting"....i'll have to check the booklet in the CD case.
    kev404on July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSaul Bellow = pretty much my favorite novelist of all time, but I can't for the life of me figure out why he is referenced in this song. He was a longtime central figure at the University of Chicago, and he was a highly opinionated, often outspoken genius, so I think this is another example of Sufjan Stevens taking a song he wrote and connecting it to Illinois in an extremely tenuous way so that it could go on his Illinoise album (or this outtakes album that wouldn't exist without the Illinoise album).
    stupid_nameon August 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"But the reelings make mistakes" Is really "but the BRAVEST make mistakes"
    and it is "get in" not "getting"
    But i love this song.
    musicalchairson August 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"What's the worth of
    All the work of my hands?
    And the worst of
    On Lake Michigan"

    This reminds me of the laments in the book of Ecclesiastes 2:11 where Solomon states:
    "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun."

    Maybe he is talking about the University of Chicago and education, and the grand scheme to make this great university. Maybe the work of his hands, the worst of which is on Lake Michigan refers to the university where Saul Bellow was educated and taught and where he stirred up a lot of controversy.

    I don't know what the meaning under that it. But it doesn't seem like such a stretch to connect to Illinois like stupid_name suggests
    Yalegirl03on December 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor what it's worth, Saul Bellow is the author of Henderson, the Rain King, the inspiration for Counting Crows' The Rain King and Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now.
    [paranoid.pj]on January 08, 2007   Link

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