Star Motifs In Neruda's Poems

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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 to signify a light in the dark. Neruda uses a star motif to indicate a positive feeling or outlook surrounded by the harsh darkness of negativity. Neruda suggests that there can only be light if there is also darkness and the emotional highs and lows in life must ultimately balance out. In his poems, Neruda uses the motif of stars to portray positive emotions in contrast to the negative emotions represented by night, showing the reader that people cannot feel joy without misery and misery …show more content…
Neruda suggests that if one lives without joy along with others who are happy, he will destroy his ability to feel as the speaker communicates his bleak view of the future: "Sky: conjure the day when I move in an orbit of stars, /trampling the lights and the powders, consuming my blood/till I nest in the eyrie rain" ("I Want to Go South Again: 1941" 18-20). Neruda uses the image of moving “in an orbit of stars” to communicate that the speaker does not feel the bright light of someone who is feeling true joy, but is simply among those who do. He shows how the speaker feels that he is “trampling the lights” and destroying his and other’s happiness, which is eating away at him and “consuming [his] blood.” This quote helps the reader to see the speakers image of a devastated future without joy where all light is snuffed out and he nests “in the eyrie rain.” Neruda shows the speaker's lack of true joy and memories of past happiness when using stars to communicate the mask of false joy he wears, "And I shall broadcast, saying nothing, /the starry echoes of the wave" ("The Poet's Obligation" 24-25). Neruda uses the idea of a starry echo to bring to mind the idea that the words of the speaker lack true meaning because they do not have true feeling behind them. Neruda shows the speaker's life becomes crumbled and destroyed due to lack of happiness when the speaker describes the image of the world falling apart around him: "a breaking up of foam and of quicksand, /a rustling of salt withdrawing, /the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast" ("The Poet's Obligation" 26-28). This passage comes from the lines following the last quote and emphasizes the idea that the speaker's life has fallen into ruin due to the absence of happiness. Neruda uses stars to suggest that a lack of real joy can

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