[Wake me up] Wake me up inside [I can't wake up] Wake me up inside [Save me]


I guess it is, but what does it mean? Wake me up from the inside of my dreams? I am trying to make sense of it, but it doesn't sound idiomatic and it sounds odd to me.

  • 2
    It has nothing to do with idiom. It's simply "a poetic phrase".
    – Fattie
    May 17 '21 at 11:47
  • 1
    inside= my emotions.
    – Lambie
    May 17 '21 at 15:31

"Wake me up inside!"

Is "wake me up inside" grammatical?

Yes, it's perfectly grammatical. There's absolutely nothing ungrammatical about saying, "Wake me up inside," or imperatively exclaiming, "Wake me up inside!" It properly employs the phrasal verb "wake up" in the imperative mood, the subject "you" being left unspoken, as is typical and proper for the imperative mood. It then in proper location within the phrasal verb, immediately after "wake" and before "up," employs a direct object pronoun: "me." It then ends the sentence with a properly placed adverb that properly modifies the verb "wake": "inside." It's a simple, straightforward, grammatical sentence. That said, "inside" could also be a preposition, which would likewise be grammatical, though it would make the sentence mean something completely different.

But what does it mean?

For its meaning within the given context of that Evanescence song, we have to start with the meaning of the expression "dead inside": "a state that one can experience when feeling hopeless, depressed, or not willing to live anymore." The character in the song feels she is dead inside and is pleading to be woken from being dead inside, the expression "wake the dead" having idiomatic denotations and numerous Biblical references, like Ephesians 5:14:

"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead"

The above doesn't literally reference slumber with "sleepest" but figuratively references death (i.e., "the dead"). Similar Biblical references are found in Isaiah, Revelation, and Thessalonians, like 1 Thessalonians 4:16 speaking of the Lord descending from heaven with a "shout" so loud that "the dead shall rise," hence the idiom "wake the dead" used in combination with and in reference to much loud noise, hyperbolically so much and so loud as to be able to even wake the dead.

What with Evanescence being a goth-rock band, it should come as no surprise that it uses such scriptural gothic motifs, like waking the dead, the story of Dracula being a perfect gothic example of that as it is referenced in the extreme within the goth subculture that Evanescence is part of, Dracula a gothic tale of a gothic count and prince who rejects Christianity, dies (is slain), and then supernaturally wakes from the dead, only to still be dead inside (figuratively and literally, having a heart that doesn't beat) while alive on the outside, a vampire. In fact, about the only thing as associated with goth subculture as vampires are is its members simultaneously wallowing and reveling in "feeling hopeless, depressed, or not willing to live anymore" (i.e., being "dead inside"), while wearing nothing but black from the tips of their dyed hair to the souls of their Doc-Marten boots, of course.

So, to be clear, the character in the Evanescence song is not literally dead but is figuratively "dead inside" and is pleading to another character that that character "wake (her) up inside," like someone would if they were to wake her from the dead. But then I suppose I could've just skipped all this explanation and simply referred you to the title of the song to answer your question about what the meaning of its lyric "Wake me up inside" is— "Bring Me to Life."

  • 1
    More completely, the verb is the phrasal verb "wake up", with the object "me" appearing between the verb and the particle (although "up" could also be analyzed as an adjective). May 17 '21 at 3:10
  • 4
    Of course it's not uncommon for bands in the goth-rock genre more generally to use scriptural motifs, but it's worth mentioning that the original members of Evanescence were all Christians. May 17 '21 at 9:53
  • 1
    It should be noted that Amy Lee has said in interviews that she came up with that specific line when a long-term acquaintance asked her whether she was happy in her current relationship, and she suddenly realized that she wasn't and that she felt "dead inside" for a long time. She has since confirmed that the song is about leaving a bad relationship for her now husband. May 17 '21 at 14:22
  • 1
    Note: I would not recommend using this in normal conversation, it's not standard usage at all. Pretty much, unless you're explicitly quoting Evanescence lyrics, you're not going to use this in regular speech. May 17 '21 at 16:28
  • 2
    This sentence is grammatical in the sense that the sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" is grammatical: it adheres to the rules of English grammar. The trick is ascribing meaning to the sentence—which is easier in this case than in Mr. Chomsky's sentence, and which you have done nicely (+1). May 17 '21 at 17:59

I believe the lines in the song you are referring to fall under the category of lyricism, which is a lot like poetry. Meaning, the words are based more on metaphors and feelings rather than strict grammar rules.

But to answer your question about the exact meaning of the song, your interpretation is quite close. Here's a quote from Amy Lee:

"I was inspired to write it when someone said something to me—I didn't know him, and I thought he might be clairvoyant... Lee said in a VH1 interview: "Open-mindedness. It's about waking up to all the things you've been missing for so long. One day someone said something that made my heart race for a second and I realized that for months I'd been numb, just going through the motions of life." During an interview with Blender, Lee claimed that she wrote "Bring Me to Life" about her longtime friend, Josh Hartzler, whom she married in 2007.

So basically, she was walking through life, not really feeling anything, almost as if she was asleep, until someone saw through her facade and "woke her up" from what felt like a bad dream.

Often when writers break grammar rules, we say they're exercising their "poetic license" because they can get away with breaking a few rules here and there in the name of art.

  • 12
    What's ungrammatical about it? May 17 '21 at 3:10
  • 5
    Not only is the sentence grammatically valid (see Benjamin Harman’s answer for an explanation of why), it’s actually idiomatically correct as well (this is the most ‘normal’ way to express this exact thought). It’s admittedly not likely you would hear someone say this, but that’s because it’s semantically atypical (that is, the thought it expresses is not something most people are likely to express, at least not verbally or in written form), not because it’s unidiomatic or ungrammatical. May 17 '21 at 11:40
  • 1
    The phrase is just as grammatical (i.e. syntactically valid) as "colorless green ideas sleep furiously". It's just not something people are going to say often outside poetry.
    – Beefster
    May 17 '21 at 14:53
  • I actually agree that it is grammatical, it's just it didn't register in my mind at first. I have updated my response accordingly.
    – Elle
    May 17 '21 at 21:26

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