I'm the man in the box
Buried in my shit

Won't you come and save me?
Save me

Feed my eyes
(Can you sew them shut?)
Jesus Christ
(Deny your maker)
He who tries
(Will be wasted)
Oh, feed my eyes
(Now you've sewn them) shut

I'm the dog who gets beat
Shove my nose in shit

Won't you come and save me?
Save me

Feed my eyes
(Can you sew them shut?)
Jesus Christ
(Deny your maker)
He who tries
(Will be wasted)
Oh, feed my eyes
(Now you've sewn them) shut

Feed my eyes
(Can you sew them shut?)
Jesus Christ
(Deny your maker)
He who tries
(Will be wasted)
Oh, feed my eyes
(Now you've sewn them) shut

Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by Liqwd10shn

Man In The Box Lyrics as written by Layne Staley Jerry Cantrell

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Man In The Box song meanings
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  • +14
    General CommentThis song is Layne's prayer, important to note that he said he was very wasted when he wrote it.

    I'm the man in the box Burried in my shit -

    He is comparing himself to animals who lives their life in a box and can never get out unless it is to die. Animals like this are buried in there own shit, raised in a box, not seeing anything in the world but what their fed (Pretty obvious from the video).

    He is calling himself the man in the box because of his drug additions. To quote him, "I'm not using drugs to get high like many people think. I know I made a big mistake when I started using this shit. It's a very difficult thing to explain. My liver is not functioning, and I'm throwing up all the time and shitting my pants. The pain is more than you can handle. It's the worst pain in the world. Dope sick hurts the entire body."

    He is bound by his addition just like animals are confined to their box.

    This is where his prayer starts...

    Won't you come and save me, save me - you is referring to God or anyone that can help

    At this point in the song it is important to note that his prayer continues only with what he sings...

    Feed my eyes — This is his way of desperately pleading “please God give me hope, something to look forward to in life, some sort of light, something I can see, something I can live for.

    Can you sew them shut — Asking layne if he can take all the hope away - sung by a different person because it represents a different person or thing like the drug.

    Jesus Christ — Proof that he is crying out to his God for help.

    deny your maker — The drug or the addiction is telling him that God cannot save him. (once again not his voice singing or part of his prayer)

    He who tries — (this is no longer part of his prayer) He listened to the voice that told him to deny his maker and realized that in the past the millions of times that his has tried to stop using his drugs he has failed. He is thinking about what will happen if he tries to stop using the drug and then the voice or the drug says... will be wasted

    will be wasted — he chose the word wasted to represent when people use drug they are “getting wasted”

    Feed my eyes now — means the same thing as before, but as you will notice when you listen to the song he is no longer crying out the same. He is crying out with less passion, he is giving up and giving into the drug addiction thus the drug (which rules his life) then tells him

    Now you've sewn them shut — The drug makes Layne feel like shit for giving into the drug again. His eyes are sewn shut because at this point he has lost all hope.

    I'm the dog who gets beat — he compares himself to a hopeless animal who is in pain again
    Shove my nose in shit — talking about the addition again.
    JohnHale6on February 01, 2010   Link
  • +11
    General Commentthe song is about being buried in your shit and eating only what your fed, but its not about calves, its about people. how most people live and die like calves raised for veal, "in a box".
    stonedtemplepiloton June 27, 2003   Link
  • +7
    General Comment***MUST READ***

    Here is my educated guess

    I believe that the message here is obviously about drugs.

    -"I'm the man in the Box" appears to be about him already in his coffin, dying.
    Quoted from "Layne Staley: Angry Chair – A Look Inside the Heart and Soul of an Incredible Musician" by Argentinean writer and music fan Adriana Rubio. Layne Staley said the following:

    In his last interview, given in early 2002 months before his death, Staley admitted, "I know I'm near death, I did crack and heroin for years. I never wanted to end my life this way." Staley's physical appearance had become even worse than before: he had lost several teeth, his skin was sickly pale, and he was severely gaunt. In the same interview Staley spoke of the damage caused by his heroin addiction.

    -"Burried in my shit" appears to be his outlook on the mess he has gotten himself into with his drugs and his knowing that he will end up dead as a result of it.
    continued from Layne Staley: Angry Chair –

    "I'm not using drugs to get high like many people think. I know I made a big mistake when I started using this SHIT. It's a very difficult thing to explain. My liver is not functioning, and I'm throwing up all the time and SHITTING my pants. The pain is more than you can handle. It's the worst pain in the world. Dope sick hurts the entire body."

    -"Won't you come and save me. Save me." Apperently asking for God's divine intervention.

    -"Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?"
    continued from Layne Staley: Angry Chair –
    "My world became a nightmare," he said. "There were just shadows around me. I got call saying that my dad had died, but my family always knew he was around doing all kind of drugs. Since that call I always was wondering, 'Where is my dad?' I felt so sad for him and I missed him. He dropped out of my life for 15 years."

    Staley insisted he always knew he had the talent and creativity to be rock star, and thought that if he became a celebrity his dad would return. So he started writing songs in his teens and jamming with other musicians. At the same time, he did a bit of research to find out where his father was living and what kind of a man he was.
    "When I was 16, I tried to find him without saying a word to my family," revealed Staley. "I did it for a long f---in' time, and what I found over the years was not good, so I changed my mind about wanting to see my dad again."

    I believe these past paragraohs to be about...
    -"Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?"
    He does not want to see or look around anymore.

    -"Jesus Christ, deny your maker"
    -"He who tries, will be wasted"
    I believe this paragraph to be read as simple as it is written.
    Help me... Can you sow my eyes shut? I don't want to see the evil anymore.
    I now know that when you deny Jesus Christ, your maker, you will be wasted.

    Wether or not Staley was aware of it, I beieve this to be a prayer of a desperate man, a messed up life, and his addiction to drugs.

    -"I'm the dog who gets beat. Shove my nose in shit."
    He knew he had a problem and everybody kept telling him about. (putting his nose in it as he may have seen it)

    -"Won't you come and save me, save me."
    His last cry for help. Religious or not, Chrisitan or not, I believe this is what he was begging or praying for.

    Kinney has commented on Staley's final years and isolation period:
    "I kept trying to make contact...Three times a week, like clockwork, I'd call him, but he'd never answer. Every time I was in the area, I was up in front of his place yelling for him...Even if you could get in his building, he wasn't going to open the door. You'd phone and he wouldn't answer. You couldn't just kick the door in and grab him, though there were so many times I thought about doing that. But if someone won't help themselves, what, really, can anyone else do?"

    Staley was found dead in his home after his mother and stepfather went to his condo with the police.

    As reported by Rick Anderson of the Seattle Weekly,
    "his body was surrounded by various drug possessions and paraphernalia: "When police kicked in the door to Layne Staley's University District apartment on April 20, there, on a couch, lit by a flickering TV, next to several spray-paint cans on the floor, not far from a small stash of cocaine, near two crack pipes on the coffee table, reposed the remains of the rock musician."

    The article also stated that the 6'1" Staley weighed just 86 pounds when his body was discovered.
    The King County Coroner's Office estimated Staley to have died on April 5, 2002, meaning Staley's body was not discovered for two weeks.

    "Drugs worked for me for years," Staley told Rolling Stone in 1996, "and now they're turning against me, now I'm walking through hell."

    Sounds to me like Staley was "the man in the box, burried in his shitty addiction."

    May he rest in Peace. God Bless him.

    JesusSaveson September 24, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentEh.. All right, here's the REAL meaning behind this song. This is in fact discussed during one of the audio interviews on disc 4 of Alice's Music Bank box set. On the interview, a guy asks Alice what was the meaning behind "Man in the Box". Jerry then goes on to explain how bizarre the song sounded when it was written. He explains that it's about a veal being buried in it's own shit, raised in this box, and not seeing anything in the world, only what it's fed.
    Temple of the Dogon June 05, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Commenti saw this argument on youtube about the
    "Jesus Christ, Deny your maker"
    part, people saying that alice in chains were satanist and shit.
    it's like they refused to read the next fucking line.
    "Who who tries will be wasted"
    they just said "He who tries to deny Jesus Christ will be wasted"
    moonchild-nm156on November 13, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIn case you guys want to know, Jerry Cantrell tells exactly what this means in the AIC boxed Set. He says that they went out to dinner with some vegetarians, and they told AIC that veal was made from baby cows raised in a box. Jerry says that that is waht this song is about. RIP layne
    RIPLayneon April 28, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWith its crunching guitar riffs and powerful vocal combat during the chorus this song about feelings of abandonement and dismissal bring what Alice In Chains have to the table. Long Live the man that gave rock and roll a voice to mock for band after band to come....Layne!
    binkyonsixstringon September 15, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commenthey does anyone here read? get the box set and in there it tells that layne wrote this song about goverment cencorship. he got the idea from veal, because veal are kept in a box so they don't grow any muscles. "jesus christ deny your maker, he who tries will be wasted, feed my eyes now you've sewn them shut"
    laynestaley622on May 03, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentto me, this a multilayered song using stream of consciousness. you have a man who's miserable, buried in shit, and all he wants is some form of happiness. he's faced with a number of choices, and the more desirable decision is left for the listener to decipher. i got this idea because the first half of each line of the chorus is sung by staley, and the second half by cantrell, symbolizing, to me, a type of confliction within the man's mind.

    there's two ideas expressed in this song.

    one is that the box, whatever it might be, is what makes him unhappy. he might live a sheltered, uneventful life, or his current lifestyle may be taking its toll. what he feels he needs as a change is to "feed my eyes"..i.e. experience life in a different way. he could also accept a diety as his savior, (jesus christ for example) thereby giving his life a purpose.

    on the other hand, you have another frame of mind that may think the box is the only thing keeping him sane in modern society. instead of dealing with his problems directly, this guy may choose to sew his eyes shut and just block them out. he could also deny the existence of god, thereby alleviating any sense of divine resposibility. this side of the man's consiousness would actually prefer the sheltered lifestyle.

    either way, this guy is weak, and instead of facing his problems like a man he decides to avoid the situation. either he hides inside the box, or feeds his eyes with distractions. therefore, my final conclusion is that even if he feeds his eyes, he is actually running from the root of his problem, and unknowlingly sews his eyes shut.

    that's just how i interpretted it though, because i refuse to believe that a great lyricist like layne staley would write a lame-ass line that is telling jesus christ to deny his maker. i think my interpretation is a little more clever.
    hambone631on November 29, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI believe TastySalmon has it right. Jesus and his imperfect followers get bagged again and blamed for everything wrong with the world. (Whatever isn't George W. Bush's fault anyway.) I took the liberty of changing a few words in the song to make it pro-Christian from the viewpoint of one who TURNS TO Jesus in the midst of his pain and suffering. I sing it on Karaoke night sometimes. Yes, I am a Christian and I love to engage all kinds of people in meaningful, nonjudgmental dialogue about religion and faith. That's the kind of guy Jesus was.
    madawabon April 14, 2005   Link

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