Ode to My Socks

Ode to My Socks Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the moral of Ode to my Socks? Why would an Ode have a moral?

    "So this is the moral of my ode: twice beautiful is beauty and what is good doubly good when it is a case of two woolen socks in wintertime."

    The moral of the poem is a sort of joke: beauty and goodness are twice as potent when you’re talking about a pair of beautiful and good socks, because there are two of them! You would expect something lofty to symbolize the beautiful and the good in a poem. Instead, we’re talking about socks here—the most mundane objects. The serious philosophical point underlying the joke is that beauty and goodness—all of the wondrous magic that the poet has praised throughout the poem—are in fact contained in our relationships with ordinary things. It is undeniably wonderful to wear socks in the winter, because they keep our feet warm.

    The Ode has a moral because in examining and exulting the socks, the poet has discovered a political point: the qualities we most value, goodness and beauty, are actually aspects of utility. This is important because aesthetic values are often reserved for the elite, removed from everyday life. Neruda is returning poetic appreciation to the common people.

  2. 2

    What is the effect of comparing the socks to animals in “Ode to my Socks”?

    The poem uses figurative language to compare the socks to various animals. The speaker’s gratitude for the gift of the socks inspires his imagination to transform them into beautiful creatures. The animals come from all parts of the ecosystem: the sea, the sky, and the earth. They’re all animals that can be found in Chile.

    In comparing the socks to animals, the poem gives them the qualities and powers of each, to magical effect: they change color and size, and can swim and run and fly. They are temporarily granted the independent status of wild animals to be set free. This expresses the speaker’s gratitude for the gift, his fascination and appreciation for their beauty.