Ode to My Suit

Ode to My Suit Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Ordinary Life (Allegory)

Neruda’s odes consider and praise everyday objects that are often overlooked or taken for granted. By using the ode form, he elevates them to be worthy of the highest aesthetic contemplation. He often personifies objects through an animist lens, granting them dignity. And he notices how our relationships with ordinary things reflect our most profound questions. In this ode, wearing his suit allows the speaker to take his daily walks (line 14) which in turn makes him encounter people and events to write about (lines 15-20). His ordinary encounters "open his eyes" and "crease his mouth” (lines 21-24). This daily routine, in which he interacts with the mundane, shapes his identity, and produces his art.

The Body (Motif)

The speaker's body forms the suit by “filling” (line 3) and “shaping” (line 20) it.

The suit also has a body. The speaker's legs enter the suit's "hollow" legs (lines 10-11). The suit "embraces" the speaker, which is a physical action. The bodies of the speaker and suit sometimes become interchangeable through metonymy, and wear out together (line 29), age together, and die together (line 70). At the end of the poem, the suit and the speaker “become one.”