Pablo Neruda and His Politics Essay

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Poetry and Politics: Pablo Neruda

In her article “Colored by Passion,” Becker (2010) describes the poetic career of Pablo Neruda and how his work gradually intersected with politics. Neruda was always a poet first, as Becker (2010) indicates, but the nature of his poetry—its focus on passion and love—eventually led him to sympathize with the Communist Party and become a member of the Party. However, Neruda’s style often focused on a kind of mystical eroticism, in which love-making between a man and a woman was like communing with the universe and being one with nature. This poetic sense helped to lead him to a political affiliation that also communicated a kind of universal oneness in which all people were part of one big family, as Neruda saw it.

In “The Great Ocean,” Neruda’s style can be seen clearly. He describes his love and himself when they are entwined about one another as being like “two plants / that grew together, roots entwined.” His take on relationships reflects his take on the world—from his viewpoint, there is a harmony between all beings that is made obvious only when love is the foundation of all things. For that reason, Neruda
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viewed Communism as the political expression of this foundation of love and harmony. There was no self or me or I in the political ideology of Communism: everything that one possessed was given up for the common good—for the whole—for the collective. Neruda viewed this ideology romantically, even though he himself lived a rather bourgeois existence, what with his three homes and fine collection of art works (Becker, 2010). In other words, Neruda propagated the ideals of the political ethos of Communism, but he himself did not necessarily identify directly with the proletariat. He was quite well off and fortunate enough to excel on his own. Nonetheless, he identified universally with all peoples and in his mind his spirit conformed with the ideals of Communism.

Thus, he stated in his Memoirs upon becoming a member of the Communist Party: “I felt Chilean, Peruvian, American. On those difficult heights, among those glorious, scattered ruins, I had found the principles of faith I needed to continue my poetry” (Becker, 2010). The principles of faith for him were not religious principles, so to speak, but rather idealistic, political principles that could inspire his mysticism and move him to create further poetry based…

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References

Becker, E. (2010). Colored by passion. Retrieved from http://pitjournal.unc.edu/article/colored-passion-political-poetical-intersect-life-and-work-pablo-neruda


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