"Ruby Through the Looking-Glass" as written by and Tori Ellen Amos....
Feel a little hand turning inside me
Don't you think she feels us fighting
Strike me at the root
I won't let you
Put her through
What you put me through

when I said --- I wanted it all,
Doesn't every woman want it all...

running through the house screaming
Girl unstrung you could always play that one
Baptized of fire and
Every beat in the bar
Hymns for her
Feel her kick me from the inside

when I said ---- I wanted it all,
Doesn't every woman want it all...
As a man ---- do you find,
Doesn't every boy smoke to cry...

you could almost drown her waterfall
You could almost drown my waterfall

through the Looking-Glass, Ruby sees
Things in you
Things in me
She won't wanna be
Just a little light turning the key
At the root, what I missed...
She will carry

when I said --- I wanted it all,
Doesn't every woman want it all...
As a man --- do you find,
Doesn't every boy smoke to cry...

feel a little hand

Lyrics submitted by merchantpierce

"Ruby Through the Looking-Glass" as written by Tori Ellen Amos

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Ruby Through the Looking-Glass song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentBeautiful song.
    Of course "ruby" is the unborn female child inside a grown woman, having relationship problems with the father. "Through the looking-glass" I am guessing is a metaphor for how different and strange this world must seem to an unborn child.
    I do not understand the line about Every boy smoking to cry...
    any ideas?
    itsALLprogramMUSICon June 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentitsALLprogramMUSIC, I was wondering exactly the same thing, that's why I came to look at the lyrics here - because I've never fully understood what she meant by that line "As a man do you find, doesn't every boy smoke to cry?" I would think that maybe she is saying something about the difference between a boy and a man because why else would she say "as a man" and then "every boy" - she could have said "every one" or something but she chose boy. But smoking is something people do to relieve tension and feel better about things and crying can also do this. But of course, crying is something more associated with girls, and men have this whole idealized "being a real man" expectation. So I think she's just saying something like men smoke to relieve themselves, on a more general level, it's pointing out that men have a different way of going about doing things than women, I don't think it's completely literal.

    I wonder if anyone else has a better idea, because she's never made any comments on the song specically, so it's hard to know what she meant by it unless she explained it.
    estelleon July 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes, that line is somewhat confusing, but you got it estelle. But, usually, when a boy smokes say for the first time, they inhale and they get tears in their eyes from the smoke, etc. This could mean that men (people in general, too) smoke to relieve stress, but the smoke might remind men of when they were "allowed" to cry as a boy with the familiar taste and smell. The abusive husband was probably taught that he needed to be really "masculine" and he tries to enforce his masculinity by abusing his wife.
    Kagerouon August 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI completely understand the reference that's been made to Alice Through the Looking Glass, but given that it talks about an unborn child, I always thought of the shape of a woman's body as the looking glass - the womb would be a bit like the large circular lens and the birth canal underneath would look like a stick holding up the lens. And little Ruby is inside, literally hearing all that's going on 'through the looking glass', ie her mother's skin.
    I also think it's partly to do with the way certain religious views can affect women. Tori has spoken a lot in interviews about how she feels Christian women have to 'pick their Mary' - have the spirituality of the Virgin Mary or the sexuality of the Magdalene. I think 'won't put her through what you put me through' relates to this, she is saying that her daughter won't be bound by the same conventions. 'Strike me at the root' also makes me think of the image from old pictures of God striking people down.
    The part about drowning in the waterfall - it made me think of the quote from Tori about baptism, that the water wasn't splashed on her head, but her head was held under for 13 years. Maybe this is a reference to that.
    The last bit about 'doesn't every woman want it all?' I think relates to her previous miscarriages - she wanted her sonic children (she talks about this in her book) as well as a real-life child, and now she is hoping that this child will be born. The 'boy smoke to cry' bit is where the male character can't deal with the grief by crying, so he smokes to cope with the loss because it's hard for him to let it out.
    daneypopson April 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"As a man do you find, doesn't every boy smoke to cry?"

    That one's easy. I guess I only saw it so quickly because I'm a male. This is a reference to the so-called 'Marlboro Man', tough-guy image that many men are forced to live up to because our society refuses to let guys cry and express their emotions. He's crying through the cigarettes because that is the only way he was allowed to cry.

    Notice how the cigarettes is a phallic symbol, but yet its slenderness is often associated with feminine brands. There's a bit of paradoxical softness associated with the tough guy stick.
    grelingon May 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst: thank you all. You guys are awesome. I happen to disagree. This song has at best loose strings attached to Alice. This is more personal and more profound. The center of this song is " as a man don't you find". Whether you agree or not, this is how Tori introduces her final statements. As a man, I would use that expression with someone I am unable to communicate with. And this is the center of this song, because if Tori was the object of abuse, she would have been smarter than ever publish such a song. But complete lack of communication makes sense, and all the rest follows, in a fantastic flows of accords... Does every boy smokes to cry is the best description of a paper-macho thus far. No other song ever made me question myself but this one. What does that mean?
    whatever65on November 08, 2019   Link
  • -1
    General Comment"Through the Looking-Glass" is a reference to the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Alice returns to the Rabbit's Hole. I'm guessing the "ruby" part would have to be a little Tori, going through the rabbit hole of her. In other words, she's pregnant (but just for this song, that is). That's the reason for the phrase part: "feel a little hand turning inside me"

    There's a domestic violence situation:
    "don't you think she feels us fighting"

    He even hits her, while knowing she's pregnant:
    "strike me at the root"

    She's thinking she might leave him (probably for an abuse shelter):

    "i won't let you
    put her through
    what you put me through"

    This happened just recently after they got married:
    "when i said --- i wanted it all,
    doesn't every woman want it all..."
    grelingon May 11, 2007   Link

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