Summary Of Pablo Neruda's The Egoist

1171 WordsOct 17, 20175 Pages
In every person, an ego which interacts with the world appears to exist; hence, languages use the basic pronouns, “I” and “you.” However, what can one truly classify as the self? Cognitive scientist Bruce Hood defines an illusion as, “[the] experience of something that is not what it seems.” By this definition, he classifies the self as illusory; humans naturally experience their self, but it does not actually exist. Similarly, in Pablo Neruda’s The Egoist, Neruda contrasts the ego with the natural world, deeming abandoning one’s self a necessary step to obtain lasting satisfaction with existence. Neruda conveys his idea as a physician would a diagnosis; first identifying the problem’s nature, then outlining its effects and solution. The…show more content…
By once again noting “the hour,” Neruda portrays individuality as perpetuating humanity’s existential woes. Many see the time’s passage as horrid, but nature sees every hour, winter or spring, the same way. However, since the Egoist unfortunately falls victim to the ego’s trap, he cannot experience nature’s wonders. Due to his relationship with ego, the Egoist at first ignores actuality. Only upon harmonizing with nature, and subsequently renouncing the personal ego, can he enjoy life. Neruda introduces The Egoist’s narrator with the passionate lamentation, “O heart lost / inside me, in this man’s essence, / what bountiful change inhabits you!” (22-24). Neruda introducing a persona and first-person perspective establishes a shift for the poem; it now contemplates the self’s effects on a personal rather than universal level. Although one might expect losing their separateness to traumatize, Neruda once again subverts expectations by expressing the loss’ beauty as bountiful change. Moreover, Neruda’s enjambment separates this passage into three distinct sections: the cause, the ego’s death, and its liberating effects. Before losing his self, the Egoist embodied “the culprit / who has fled or turned himself in” (25-26). The Egoist’s past highlights the illusory self’s ultimate folly; the inevitable self-absorption accompanying it. Some, like the Egoist, spend their entire lives trying to inflate their egos via fruitless activities like crime, believing they will

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