Ode to My Suit

Ode to My Suit Study Guide

Neruda wrote “Ode to My Suit” (“Oda al Traje”) as part of a larger project to praise ordinary objects such as salt, an onion, a lemon, wine, socks, and a watch. The "Odes"—around two hundred and fifty in all—also paid tribute to particular people. He began writing these for a popular audience in a newspaper column. "Ode to My Suit" appeared in the book Elementary Odes in 1954. The book was the first of four collections of "Odes" published between 1954 and 1959.

An Ode is a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often written in an elevated style with an irregular meter. Neruda’s Odes praise everyday objects that are taken for granted. By using the ode form, he recognizes them as worthy of the highest aesthetic contemplation. He notices how our relationships with ordinary things affect our lives profoundly.

In "Ode to My Suit", the speaker speaks to his suit directly and explores their intimate relationship. Wearing his suit allows the speaker to take his daily walks, which in turn leads him to encounter people and events to write about. The suit is partially personified, and is also filled by the emotions and body of the speaker. It changes along with him. The speaker is certain that they will somehow die together. In the end, the speaker recognizes that he and his suit are one.