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Neruda Motifs

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A common question posed throughout time is whether people can feel love or joy without also feeling grief and heartbreak or not. Neruda answers if human beings can feel true joy without first experiencing sadness with his use of stars throughout his poetry. Neruda uses a star motif to indicate a positive feeling or outlook surrounded by the harsh darkness of negativity. A star signifies a light in the dark. Neruda suggests that there can only be light if there is also darkness. The emotional highs and lows in life must ultimately balance out. In his poems, Neruda uses the motif of stars to portray positive emotions that contrast the negative emotions of the night, showing the reader that people can have two or more consecutive or simultaneous …show more content…
Neruda suggests that everyone has their own kind of prison and it is not easy to break free of it by oneself: “To whomever is not listening to the sea/this Friday morning, to whomever is cooped up/in house or office, factory or woman/or street or mine or harsh prison cell:/to him I come, and, without speaking or looking, /I arrive and open the door of his prison” (“The Poet’s Obligation” 1-6). Neruda is suggesting to the reader that everyone has his own form of confinement, which keeps him from the joys of life, and that prison can take on any form. Neruda uses stars to show the joy of release from this prison when the prison itself brought so much sadness, “and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent, /a great fragment of thunder sets in motion/the rumble of the planet and the foam, /the raucous rivers of the ocean flood, /the star vibrates swiftly in its corona, /and the sea is beating, dying and continuing” (“The Poet’s Obligation” 7-12). Neruda uses the brightness of the star’s corona here to describe the unbelievable joy that comes with having someone enter one’s life and bring him out of a rut to present a new view of the world. Neruda shows that the speaker wants to lead others out of pain and into the light of joy, “To everyone, to you/silent beings of the night/who took my hand in the darkness, to you, /lamps, /of immortal light, star lines, /bread of the living, secret brothers, /to everyone, to you” (“The Fugitive: XII: To everyone, to you” 1-7). Neruda uses stars to show the reader that people, as a whole, have the tendency to live their life in the dark sadness of night, but the speaker wants to take their hands and show them the joy in the bright light. Neruda shows the joy the speaker hopes to bring to others: “I say: there’s no thanks, /nothing could fill the cups/of purity, /nothing can/contain all of the sun in the flags/of the

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