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Walking Around- Pablo Neruda

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madison kesterson

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of Walking Around- Pablo Neruda

Walking Around Written by: Pablo Neruda So, what was going on? Walking Around was written somewhere around 1935. 1935 was within the time frame of Neruda's surrealist writing, so it is very possible that Walking around could be an example of surrealism. Walking Around was published as a part of Residencia en la tierra; a collection of poetry known for conveying Neruda's feelings on the social situations of his time. This is something to consider when trying to find meaning and purpose in this poem. Neruda was introduced to Communism a few years before he wrote this poem. Although he shared their political beliefs, their radical views may have influenced the way he viewed the world, thus changing the way he wrote poetry. If this poem was indeed written in 1935, it was written while Neruda was staying in Spain, and a mere year before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The tensions felt among the Spanish people at the time may have also influenced the way this poem was written. The 5 S's Structure Walking Around is, at its surface, a poem about a man walking around and describing what he sees. He takes something in, then just as quickly moves onto something else. In this situation he is free. This is reflected by the free verse form and the surrealist style of the poem. Enjambment- this structural device is used throughout the poem. It is unclear if Neruda used this device intentionally, but it draws attention to the strong images Neruda creates.
"And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie
houses
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes" (lines 2-5)
In this example the breaking up of phrases fashions a pattern that feels almost heavy when read. It is strange to use the word "heavy" in this sense however, the use of enjambment interrupts the normal reading pattern creating the feeling of heaviness. More concentration is required to read passages with enjambment, therefore placing the images within those lines in a position to have more of an impact. Asyndeton- used in lines 9-10
"The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators."
It is a quick way for Neruda to display his no nonsense, "I'm tired of this" tone. Volta- The last stanza possesses a calm mood, a contrast between the dark, depressing mood of the previous stanzas. The last stanza also lacks the figurative language and literary devices that made the other stanzas seem surreal.
"I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and orthopedic
shops,
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line:
underwear, towels and shirts from which slow
dirty tears are falling" (lines 45-51).
However, by describing the "tears" as "dirty" in the last line, Neruda ties the last stanza into the rest of the poem. Sound There is certainly many sound devices used in this poem but the strongest and most effective would have to be Neruda's use of Cacophony. By using words with sharp, harsh sounds Neruda displays his dark tone and creates an equally dark mood. "Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily" (lines 14-15). "I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep" (lines 20-21). "That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel" (lines 28-30). "And it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist
houses,
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin" (lines33-37). "There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffepot" (lines 38-40) Sense Neruda uses words that in themselves are concrete but the way they are used imply a deeper meaning. This could be an effect of the surrealist style with which Walking Around was written. The title of the poem, Walking Around, implies that the poem will be calm and have a simple meaning. This is because the title itself is simple. Be that as it may, this implication is proven to be false. As soon as the poem begins it contrasts the implications of the title. "It so happens I am sick of being a man" (line 1) Here is a relatively dark and deep thought, one that destroys the assumption that Walking Around will be calm and simple. Imagery- one of the most effective literary devices used in the poem. Neruda uses strong images to convey his bitter tone and to create a dark, confusing mood. It is in his imagery that his surrealist style really makes an appearance. "The smell of barber shops makes me break into hoarse
sobs" (lines 6-7). "It would be great
to go through the streets with a green knife
letting out yells until I died of the cold" (lines 17-19) "I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep" (lines 20-21) "That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading toward the
night" (lines 28-32). "it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist
houses,
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window" (lines 33-35) "There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms, and umbilical
cords" (lines 38-44). Other literary devices are used, but they seem to be used only to enhance the effect of the imagery used throughout the entire poem. Personification:
"into the moist guts of the earth" (line 22)

"That's why Monday, when it sees me coming/... it howls on its way like a wounded wheel" (lines 28-30).

"where the bones fly out of the window" (line 35).

"there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror" (lines 41-42). Similes:
"dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt" (line 4).

"The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool" (line 8).

"I don't want to go on as a root and a tomb" (line 25).

"That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with ny convict face, blazes up like gasoline" (lines 28-29).

"into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin" (lines 36-37).

Some of these comparisons don't make sense and are therefore a reflection of surrealism. Symbols There is really only one powerful metaphor. In this way I guess you could say it is the controlling metaphor of the poem.
"I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in thinking, eating every day" (lines 20-23).
This passage is a metaphor for life. What Neruda is trying to say is that he is tired of his good life. He no longer wants to sit back and do nothing as others suffer. He wants to do something about it. This theme occurs throughout the poem. Speaker The speaker and the author are the same person in this poem. This conclusion can me made because the poem reflects some of Neruda's own ideas. Repetition- used throughout the poem to show the importance of certain ideas.
"It so happens that I am sick of being a man."

"The only thing I want..."

"I don't want..." The tone of this poem is dark, bitter, and angry. This can be clearly seen in Neruda's diction and use of imagery. The last stanza of the poem is almost soothing when compared with the rest of the poem. In this way it acts as a form of catharsis and closure.
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