Influence or Contribution of Pablo Neruda in Politics Thesis

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¶ … Politics of Pablo Neruda

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Pablo Neruda is synonymous with the people's political, cultural, and literary movements of mid twentieth century Chile. Poet, diplomat, Nobel Prize winner, politician and pundit, Neruda filled the roles that he believed would best benefit the people and Chile. His career began as a poet, transitioned to diplomat and representative of the Communist Party of Chile, and ended with the coup against Salvador Allende by General Augusto Pinochet. While he died shortly after, Neruda's influence was strongly felt throughout the socialist, communist, and peasant-class people of Chile. What marks Neruda as unique among political figures and those with strong political influence, particularly posthumously, is that his adulthood was formed in poetry and literature. A man of the arts, a man of deep intellectual integrity, of strong convictions and a man who enjoyed the relative insulation that fame afforded him in more tolerant times, Neruda held influential posts under multiple Chilean administrations and built his reputation upon a strong foundation of passionate patriotism and an absolute dedication to the promotion of the people of Chile through a socialist and then communist agenda. While in later life, Neruda backed off of his fervent pro-Stalinism, he never wavered once committed to his ideal of bringing true communism to Chile. As a testament to his lasting impact upon the people of Chile, even after a bloody coup and the active opposition of Pinochet, thousands turned out into the streets of Buenos Aires to show their support and love for Pablo Neruda.

TOPIC: Thesis on Influence or Contribution of Pablo Neruda in Politics Assignment

When we take up an examination of a life, even one particular aspect of it, the context in which that life was lived occupies a strong position. Neruda, born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in 1904, lived across the course of two world wars, massive shifts in world politics, and the rise of Asiatic communism. His life was framed by the great conflicts of the world - World War I as a teenager, World War II as an adult, the Spanish Civil War, the Cold War - all of which served to build up to and then reinforce his socialist idealism. but, wars and conflicts were not the only events in Neruda's world that shaped his life. The volatility of Chile itself, the vast gaps between the wealthy and the abject poor, the need for the agrarian identity to be honored instead of defiled, all effectively forced Neruda's hand - as is evidenced in his poetry and writing. His two marriages, the early and tragic death of his first child, his shift from hero to outcast in hiding and back to heroic status again all contributed to the totality of Pablo Neruda. These contexts, and how Neruda navigated them, is what must form the primary focus of any discussion of his life - particularly his political life.

Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto was born in Parral, Chile, a small suburb of Santiago. His father, a railroad worker, and his mother, a teacher, were hard working, socially involved people who believed strongly in Chile. From a very early age, Neftali sought out the literary experience - much to the dismay of his father. Rather than showing interest in a craft or a technical skill, Neftali demonstrated a strong affinity and talent for literature and, in particular, poetry. He would later be quoted as saying: "The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty." At the age of thirteen, he launched his literary career with a collection of articles published in the local daily paper as well as his first poems. His literary aspirations were supported and encouraged by the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Gabriela Mistral who was the headmistress of a local girls high-school. At the age of sixteen, with the prompting of Mistral, he began contributing to Selva Austral ("Southern Forest"), a literary journal for which he created the pen name, "Pablo Neruda."

The origin of this rather unusual choice in pen name was with the Czech poet, Jan Neruda, who served as a very early inspiration. Neruda's second book, Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada (Twenty Poems of Love and a Desperate Song), was published when he was twenty (1924) and became and remains one of his most celebrated and translated works. What was so striking about this first body of poems, was the strong sexuality that was expressed throughout:

But the hour of vengence falls, and I love you

Body of skin, of moss, of eager and firm milk

Oh the goblets of the breast! Oh the eyes of absence!

Oh the roses of the pubis! Oh your voice, slow and sad!

Body of a Woman")

The nineteen-year-old's poetry was as viscerally sexual as any of poets many years senior who, certainly, had greater experience. The same year that he published this book, he began his studies at the University of Chile in Santiago. While at the university, Neftali legally changed his name to Pablo Neruda, published several more books, articles, essays and poems in various publications and found that his popularity and literary influence had become solid in Chile. Unfortunately for him, however, that fame did not come with fortune.

Hard up for money, Neruda accepted an honorary post in Chile's diplomatic service as a consul in several different nations including Burma, Indonesia, Argentina, France, and most importantly, Spain. While he was involved with the diplomatic service, Neruda composed his collection of surrealistic works entitled, "Living on the Land" that reflected the intense turmoil he was experiencing performing a job that he had no stomach or passion for. but, while in Spain, Neruda witnessed and experienced, first hand, the effects of war when civil conflict broke out. His revulsion and pain towards war and the murder of his good friend and fellow literary figure, Garcia Lorca, pushed him to take up the cause of Republicanism both in Spain and in France.

After eight years away from Chile, Neruda was recalled home where he spent a year writing a new form of poetry, for him. In 1937, Neruda published "Spain in our Hearts," a collection of strongly political poems that were strongly influenced by his experiences in Spain. The title poem was an epic attack on Fascism, as were many of the poems.

What have you achieved? Bring, bring the lamp, see the soaked earth, see the blackened little bone eaten by the flames, the garment of Murdered Spain


To Neruda, the Fascists represented the destruction of civilization - particularly the subjugation of the agrarian economy to the needs of the urban consumer. He saw the enslavement of the farmer to the machine, to the political system that denied the farmer his ability to determine his own destiny. In the heat of that war, when the Fascists prevailed and totalitarianism had spread to one more country (which would assist in the rise of Hitler as well as Mussolini), Neruda's distrust of centralized power blossomed into the central theme of the rest of his life - that of political activism and, in particular, communism.

In 1939, while Hitler was invading Eastern Europe, Neruda was appointed to manage the emigration of Spanish refugees to Chile through France. In this role, he was able to shepherd more than two-thousand refugees out of squalid camps in Southern France to Chile. It was in this work that Neruda finally shifted his entire political self-concept to that of a communist. While he was continuing to write along a socialist agenda, and while Hitler remained in control of Europe, Neruda was given the post of Consul General to Mexico in 1940. He spent the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Influence or Contribution of Pablo Neruda in Politics.  (2008, December 4).  Retrieved November 30, 2021, from

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"Influence or Contribution of Pablo Neruda in Politics."  December 4, 2008.  Accessed November 30, 2021.