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A Song of Despair

A Song of Despair

by Pablo Neruda

A Song of Despair Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Okay, Shmoopateers. You're going to have to open the bilingual part of your minds (yes, you have one!) for this discussion of the poem's form and meter. Ready? Off we go…Here's the deal: the most...

Speaker

Our speaker is a real mopey guy, and can't shake his broken heart. The way he talks lets us know he's a he (In the original Spanish, the adjectives are masculine ones. For example, line 3 reads "Ab...

Setting

This poem doesn't give us very many specifics when it comes to its setting. We do know that it's nighttime, and that we're near the docks—the perfect place to dump a body, do some illegal busines...

Sound Check

It ain't called "A Song of Despair" for nothin'! This poem really wails. It's a sad song, a breakup song, a lament. This guy has got the blues and he is letting it out musically. Of course, when yo...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of the poem is famous, partially because the title of the super-bestselling book in which it was first published is 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair. It's like the love poems are openi...

Calling Card

Neruda is famous for his love poems, and usually these are told from one perspective: the dude's. The girls are distant and cold, like statues or objects. It's the fellas that take center stage, mu...

Tough-o-Meter

Breakin' up is hard to do, and this poem isn't that easy either. The figurative language could leave you wondering what the poem was about if you don't read carefully, but once you dive into the me...

Trivia

Pablo Neruda is Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes' pen name, which he invented to hide the fact that he was publishing books of poetry from his disapproving family. (Source.) Neruda learned from his c...

Steaminess Rating

Things are a bit explicit in this poem. The speaker did have sexual relations with that woman, and he does make a note of it. Still, the steaminess doesn't go too far beyond "entwined bodies" and "...

Allusions

Genesis 2:23 (21). This is a reference to when Adam finally sees his brand-new girlfriend, Eve. He says "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she w...

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