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Ode to My Socks

Ode to My Socks

by Pablo Neruda

Humility Theme

"Ode to My Socks" is all about keeping it real. No getting lofty or snooty here—the topic at hand is socks, and don't you forget it! Instead of choosing his diamond-encrusted boxer shorts, the poet wrote about a pair of ordinary woolen socks, insisting on their simple beauty. This is in line with Neruda's mission to bring poetry to the common people by grounding it in everyday experiences.

Questions About Humility

  1. The poet compares the socks to jewel cases and describes them as being knitted with a thread of gold. How do such rich images fit with the idea of humility the poem seems to promote?
  2. The homemade socks are a way to connect with ordinary people, but the person who knitted the socks is the wife of an important painter. Do you think the speaker is in the same, humble plane as the intended reader? Why or why not?
  3. How does the experience of putting on a pair of beautiful socks make the speaker feel humble?
  4. Does the speaker's wild imagination and figurative language make him seem more, or less, humble to you? Why do you think so?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Humility is #1! The poem "Ode to My Socks" puts forward humility as the most important human virtue.

Nice try, Neruda. In "Ode to My Socks," the speaker displays false humility in order to get in touch with a wider audience.

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