Literary Analysis Essay of Pablo Neruda’s ‘If You Forget Me’

Literary Analysis Essay of Pablo Neruda’s ‘If You Forget Me’

The poem ‘If You Forget Me’ is one of the poems by Pablo Neruda. He is considered one of the famous poets of all time. This piece centers the relationship that the speaker has with his home country. It shows the love and hate relationship that the persona is experiencing amidst the individual conflicts he is experiencing. As the poem progresses further, it demonstrates the willingness of the speaker to go back to his roots and sharing the lessons and experiences of his past. Based from all these points, it is through Neruda’s powerful use of the language alongside the capability to take advantage of literary devices that he is able to transcend and create a deeper significance and meaning to audiences.

One of the important themes depicted by the piece is the emotional state of the speaker in the poem. The thing that stands out is the feelings of longing and desire to be with something or someone. By closely looking at the context of when the poem was written, it can be seen that Neruda wrote this piece during his exile from his native country in Chile. Specifically, it emphasized how despite feeling betrayed, the speaker continues to feel loyal and devoted to the cause of his country (BeamingNotes 1). As the persona eventually returns to his homeland, it continues to rekindle the memories of the past and would greatly define who he is as a person. Seeing this, it is through Neruda’s mastery of words and effective use of literary devices that he is able to transcend this meaning to audiences.

Given the poem’s tone pertaining to the speaker’s exile in another place, another important theme that can be surmised in the piece corresponds to nationalism. Arguably, the poem describes how the author is longing to get back to his homeland. The line that says, “in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten | my love feeds on your love, beloved” (Neruda 1) describes the relationship that the speaker has to his home country. It may be true that he felt bad about being exiled however the emotions and love for his birthplace remains to be stronger. As the poem tries to develop specific connections surrounding the emotions of the speaker, readers are then able to comprehend the love and relationship Neruda has with his home.

In relation to literary devices, there are also numerous instances where Neruda utilized these techniques in the poem. Imagery is a style that is evident in the piece. Through the use of appropriate words, he is able to provide a deeper meaning to the message the speaker seeks to impart to readers (Fernandez 1). Another literary device that can be seen is how Neruda uses personification in the poem. Here, the speaker tries to associate human-like characteristics to objects. For example, the line where Neruda says “or the wrinkled body of the log” (1) is one example to show personification. Other devices that can be seen in the poem include repetition and symbolisms. Altogether, the choice of Neruda to incorporate this in the poem brings forward a better way to engage and capture readers attention.

Overall, ‘If You Forget Me’ is a poem that describes the emotional state of a man exiled in another land. This piece remains to be a reflection of Neruda’s experience during his time away from Chile. It is through this piece that he is able to establish his complicated relationship with his homeland. Like a romantic relationship, it demonstrates a period of love and hate that is strengthened with the use of literary devices such as imagery, personification and symbolisms. In the end, after all the feelings of resentment, the speaker continues realizes his continued love and devotion to the land that cultivated his identity and ideals in life.

Works Cited

BeamingNotes. Summary and Analysis of If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda. n.d. Web.  Accessed 4 September 2014.

Fernandez, Emily. ‘If You Forget Me’ 5 Feb. 2013. Web. Accessed 4 September  2014.

Neruda, Pablo. ‘If You Forget About Me’ All Poetry. n.d. Web. Accessed 4 September 2014.