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To what extent is Neruda the voice of Chile? Body of a woman is one such poem that Neruda uses to depict the feeling of uncertainty held by many Chileans

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Introduction

To what extent is Neruda the voice of Chile? For many readers of Neruda's "twenty love poems and a song of despair" it can be argued that they are indeed an exploration and celebration of love, sex and loneliness. These defining characteristics that make us human are what Neruda so skilfully conveys in this collection of poems. However when viewed in a historical context and with Neruda's country of origin in mind, it can also be argued that to some extent Neruda speaks on behalf of the people of Chile. Neruda lived in a turbulent Chile - coupled with political uncertainty and instability. Nonetheless in his depiction of what it is to be human: to lust, to love and to lose the reader is able to hear the thoughts of Neruda and in its echoes the remnants of the voices of the people of Chile. "Body of a woman" is one such poem that Neruda uses to depict the feeling of uncertainty held by many Chileans in the time period that was his life span. Such indication of this lies in the title of the poem as although it can be said that the poem is about a woman, on a deeper subtext the poem could also be centred on Chile itself. This assumption can be made as countries are often referred to by the personal pronoun she, as if they were women. ...read more.

Middle

So although the poem can be seen as having a significant relation to Chile, Neruda's fatherland, it isn't necessarily specific to Chile. Neruda then goes on to create a state of melancholy in relation to his country, seen in the third stanza of the poem. Yet he sustains that he will remain faithful to his country: "But the hour of vengeance falls, and I love you." The use of the word "hour" to represent a relatively short period of time could be reference once again to the political instability of his country. Within the space of one year, two forms of government were overtaken through a military coup. Thus the "vengeance" of the newer government seeking to overthrow the old could be Neruda's way of depicting the violence, which is in itself an inevitability when such things occur. Coupled with Neruda's personification of "vengeance" depicting it as falling, the reader is able to see such military coups as occurring suddenly, as is the very nature of falling. Despite all of this though Neruda still "loves" his country. Yet he is expressing his love only "I love you". Although it could be argued that Neruda is inadvertently expressing the views of others in his country, this doesn't seem to be his primary intention in this verse. Conversely it appears the verse's main intention is to display the emotions of Neruda, as if he isn't actively seeking to be the voice of "Chile". ...read more.

Conclusion

This indicates a type of struggle whereby Neruda's consistency in trying to be the voice of his country by highlighting his view on matters results in the annoyance and aggravation of others. This ultimately shows that Neruda is not wanted. With historical knowledge it is possible to presume that here Neruda is inadvertently trying to show those in power in Chile that he will continue to voice his views on Chilean matters, despite animosity from the government. This could have inadvertently made him the "voice of Chile" for many Chilean as Neruda ability to express their views openly to the world would have given them a sense of liberation. Even so, in this verse in particular it doesn't feel that this is Neruda's true intention. He is once again using his poetry as a means of conveying how he feels primarily, yet in the process he reflects the views of other Chileans. To conclude it is evident that Neruda does indeed publicise the views of Chileans including himself. Yet the question lies in whether or not this is his sole intention, or whether this is just something that Neruda ends up doing as a result of expressing his own views. Neruda is deliberately ambiguous throughout "Body of a Woman"; this thus allows individual readers to adopt a more personal connection with the poem as they find meaning that resonates with them. ?? ?? ?? ?? Samirah Musazi ...read more.

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