You are on page 1of 2

Autumn Stevens

Curmano
Freshman Honors English
8 February 2015
The Inevitable Cycle
Appointed as the great Whitman of the South, Pablo Neruda was a thoughtful, loveinspired Chilean. His fame is mostly associated with his illustrious romantic writings, however, it
was also his experiences with regret, life, death, and freedom that lead to his contemplative and
thoughtful works. The inspiration and incentive to create his notorious The Light Wraps You
derived from the death of his mother, Rosa Basoalto de Reyes. Furthermore, Nerudas mournful
yet appreciative tone in The Light Wraps You supports the conveyed theme that one will
always be a slave of the circle of life, and escaping its grasp is possible only through love using
symbolism, paradox, and metaphor.
Neruda establishes this theme through his use of powerful poetic devices that help
portray his sorrowful tone. The line of the circle that moves in turn through black and gold is
an instance of symbolism in The Light Wraps You (16). This represents the repeated cycle of
life and death through his usage of the word gold to imply precious [metal] -- symbolizing life
and purity-- and his use of black as a contradiction or opposite to gold exemplifying death
and stability. This is a clear display of his understanding opinion of the inevitable circle of life.
The phrase lead and possess a creation so rich in life that its flowers perish and it is full of
sadness (17-19) is an example of Nerudas use of paradox. The idea this newborn is so rich in
life gives the reader a feeling of positivity and warmth, but in contradiction, all of the life makes
the newborn perish or die suddenly; because the newborn is so full of life and vibrant, it dies.
This paradox gives the reader a sense of confusion just as Neruda feels about the laws of life.
The great roots of night grow suddenly from your soul (10-11) is a metaphor for his mothers
death of tuberculosis (Liukkonen). The great roots of night symbolize death--or the bacteria
that induces tuberculosis--that grew suddenly from [his mothers] soul. By comparing his
mothers death to the great roots of night, one begins to understand Nerudas sorrowful
perception of the cycle of life. Its his understanding opinion, confusion, and perception--as seen
through symbolism, paradox, and metaphor--that allow one to see his sorrowful tone that helps
communicate the theme that one will always be a slave of the circle of life, and escaping its
grasp is possible only through love.
Nerudas mournful tone throughout the poem vividly reinforces his overall theme. By his
use of the words ruined, night, blue, and black one gains a sense of his heartache
(8,10,13,16). His use of dark-colored words exemplifying death and stability give one a visual of

how sad of a place he was in because of his mothers passing. He clearly feels ruined by the
cycle of life his mother underwent and yearns for her love to help him forget it. However, to
amplify the misery he is feeling, he compares death to the fire, nourishment,
magnificence, and richness of life (7,14,15,18). In this relation, one sees his appreciation for
the brighter side of life even through his remorse. Through this comparison, his grief is
intensified to further reinforce the idea of deaths inevitability. In using the rich words alone,
and palled Neruda communicates his feeling of isolation and helplessness (6,13). Because of
his mothers death, he feels vulnerable to the cycle of life and furthermore creates the
understanding that it is imminent. He longs for his mothers love once again in hopes to
acknowledge deaths happening. It is through Nerudas mournful tone that one begins to fully
understand the theme that one will always be a slave of the circle of life, and escaping its grasp is
possible only through love.
Nerudas mournful yet appreciative tone in The Light Wraps You supports the
conveyed theme that one will always be a slave of the circle of life, and escaping its grasp is
possible only through love by using symbolism, paradox, and metaphor. Because of his
experiences with freedom, love, life, and death, Nerudas reflective pieces share more than
words; they share his love for his mother and his contemplation of the certainty of death. He was
a thoughtful, insightful poet that, as he now knows, will die one day.