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Piedra de sol

Piedra de sol

by Octavio Paz

Piedra de sol Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. How does the poem reflect a calendar in its structure? Why do you think Paz decided to write a poem like this? What's the effect?
  2. What is the deal with mixing in western society allusions (Persephone, Heloise) with pre-Columbian ones (the Aztec calendar)? Does this add to the meaning of the poem in any way? 
  3. Who is the speaker? What do you think he looks like; where is he from; what has he experienced in his life?
  4. The poem doesn't rhyme and the stanzas have varying lengths, but in the original Spanish it has a strict syllable count—eleven for each line. What's the effect of paying so much attention to meter and not so much to form? 
  5. The poem is full of repetition, of words, phrases, lines, and entire sections. What effect does this have when reading the poem, and how can it help us understand it? 
  6. Do you think the poem is really claiming we can be reborn after being dead? Or is it a figurative way to talk about the life cycle? Do you believe in reincarnation, or some sort of reunion with loved ones after we die? 
  7. Do you think it matters that the speaker can't put his finger on the exact name, face, place, and circumstances of the girl he's trying to remember? Is it possible to love someone even after you've forgotten them?
  8. The poem uses a mix of natural (sea, sun, trees, rivers, sand, stone, fruit) and man-made (bread, corridors, mirrors, rooms) images. Why do you think that is? What does it have to do with the overall meaning of the poem?

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