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"The Hunter in the Forest" is a poem which belongs to Isla Negra, a collection of verses and poems of autobiographical nature written by the master poet Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, also known as Pablo Neruda.
"Cazador en el Bosque" or "Hunter in the Forest" is a beautiful, allegorical piece in which Neruda compares life, and its diverse processes, to those of nature. The forest and all its dynamics are a metaphor all the dynamics of human life. The Hunter may be the individual, or even Neruda himself, exploring the forest, which is life, in solitude and full immersion.
This being said, Neruda's main theme is the continuum of life and death as processes that are never-ending. One needs the other to create balance. Nature, as our mother and protector, witnesses the cycle and illustrates it to the hunter in the many things that take place in nature: When a flower dies, another root begins to sprout; when the sun sets, the moon rises, and so will the sun rise again. This is a necessary process. So is life, and so is death.
..... porque trabaja
recibiendo y naciendo:
cuanto muere recoge
como una anciana hambrienta
Another main theme is returning to one's roots not only during life, by finding ourselves, but understanding who we are as far as our role in nature. In the poem, the hunter's boots basically anchor themselves onto the soil, the leaves ask who he is, and when he asks the question, the forest goes silent.
Callará hasta que yo comience a ser
substancia muerta y viva, enredadera,
feroz tronco del árbol erizado
o copa temblorosa.
That silence represents the obligation of every individual to find themselves and live in harmony with nature to which we will, eventually, return as basic elements.
Therefore, the main themes of "Hunter in the Forest" are soul searching, our bond with nature, the natural processes of life and death, and the interconnection of humans with our immediate environment.
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