Tonight I Can Write

by Pablo Neruda

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Can you give me at least two metaphors in "Tonight I can Write"?

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Pablo Neruda's "Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines)" contains numerous metaphors. In addition to what the other Educator answer mentions, the following two lines contain metaphors:

  • Love is so short.
  • Her voice, her bright body.

Neither seems to be a blatant example of metaphor , both can...

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be identified as metaphors based upon the full text andimagery defined within the body of the poem.

In the first example, the speaker is comparing love to time. Overall, the poem speaks to the passage of time. The speaker recalls the existence of "her" both before and after he loved her. Therefore, the metaphor exists through the speaker comparing love being short to life being short.

In the second example, the speaker compares "her" body to a celestial body found in the night sky. The speaker describes the night sky numerous times throughout the poem. Here, one could argue that the speaker's description of "her bright body" could be in comparison to the stars in the sky. While not an overtly obvious metaphor, when one examines the major imagery present in the poem, one could argue that this line meets the requirements of being identified as a metaphor.

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Let us remember that metaphors are a form of figurative language in which one object or action is compared to something else but without the use of the world "like" or "as," which would be a simile. Often these metaphors are implied, so rather than directly stating that one thing is something else, the comparison is not directly stated. Consider the following example:

Write, for example, 'The night is starryand the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

Stars obviously do not "shiver in the distance," but the speaker here is comparing the stars to people who are so cold they have turned blue, and thus are shivering.

Again, another implied metaphor that is used in this poem is the following:

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

The wind does not literally "sing," but Neruda here is comparing the sound of the wind flying around in the night sky to somebody singing, and we can imagine this singing to be mournful as it contributes to and develops the sad and depressing mood of the poem.

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