In the Sonnet XLVI, author Pablo Neruda describes the love he has for his wife and his happiness due to his choice of picking her over any other woman. He uses literary devices such as imagery, repetition, metaphors to convey the magnitude of his love. In Sonnet XLVI the narrator starts by talking about the stars he admired and the various rivers with their misty features (1-2). He then goes on to talk about the multiple waves he encounters and his choice of only one in the second stanza (5-9). In the third stanza, Neruda mentions rain and the infinite amount of water drops associated with it. Light, which is a natural phenomena that seems to be infinite, is also talked about. Nature is a recurring theme in Sonnet XLVI and helps to convey the author’s message that his love for his wife is plentiful because all the nature references mentioned in the sonnet are vast and expansive. In the fourth stanza, the focus seems to shift away from nature and toward the woman who is the center of the narrator’s affection. This is evident to the reader through the narrator’s mentioning of the woman’s hair and heart (12-14). The literary devices are a major part of Neruda’s way of expressing the magnitude of the love he has for his wife.
In the first stanza, Neruda refers to other women as “stars he admired” before he chose his wife. The women were like stars because they were far away and he was not able to reach them. The other women or “stars” were distant. He refers to the stars as being drenched in various rivers and mists to signify that the women used perfume and had various scents but he chose the only one he loves, his wife’s. In the last line of the stanza, Neruda uses the phrase “I sleep with the night” to signify that he is content and has everything he wants. At night is when all the stars are present so by saying that he goes to sleep with the night, he means that his wife is more precious than all the stars in the sky, or all the other women.
In the second stanza, Neruda starts by using the repetition of the wave. The wave symbolizes the different women he encountered. The next line uses the repetition of the word green. Paired with the waves of women, the color green shows that the women he encountered were all the same. The repetition and imagery together show that Neruda was not interested in any other women. Green is also the color associated with algae that grow in the sea. Algae are not a very glamorous species of plant, so Neruda is connecting the plain looking color of algae to the waves of women. Neruda concludes the stanza by mentioning that he only chose the one wave that is his wife. He uses the metaphor “the indivisible wave of your body” to compare his wife’s body to a wave that did not break. Indivisible waves are long and lean, so comparing his wife’s body to one is a comment on how attractive he thinks she is.
The third stanza describes Neruda’s coming to his senses in choosing his wife out of all the other possible women. He is like a tree that matured in that all the water drops, roots, and light gathered to him sooner or later. The combination of factors made him grow into the person he is and realize whom his soul mate was. Neruda says that all the factors came “sooner or later” to show that he and his wife were meant to be because even though he had been searching for the right one, it was fate that brought them together eventually and his searching was futile.
The fourth stanza is the conclusion of Neruda’s profession of love toward his wife. He states “I wanted your hair, all for myself”. The hair can be interpreted as beauty therefore, Neruda wanted the woman’s beauty all for himself. Also, “all the graces my homeland offered” refers to all the other possible women Neruda could have chosen as his wife, he chose the one he loves. He concludes, “I chose only your savage heart”. By using the word savage, Neruda implies that his wife’s love is passionate, ardent, and untamed like a savage.
Throughout the sonnet, Neruda uses the repetition of the phrase “I chose only”. This is present in the third line of stanzas one, two, and four. This is done to symbolize his embracing his one true love, his wife. The repetition also serves to convince the reader that Neruda made a conscious and enduring choice in picking his wife. Throughout the poem, Neruda sticks to his choice and his attitude does not change. He was content with his choice and the feelings he has for his wife. He is not disappointed or suffering from any remorse because he repeats that his choice was a positive one.
The sonnet does not contain a rhyme scheme. The effect of the sonnet not having a rhyme scheme is that it allows the author to let his feelings flow without any restrictions and makes the message of love seem more honest and impromptu. Since the poem is about the love for his wife, it is more sincere that the structure seems as if it were unscripted and spontaneous.
The first two stanzas are four lines each, while the last two stanzas are only three lines. The stanzas are separated by length to show turning point. The first two stanzas summarize his search to find his wife. The last two stanzas summarize his feelings after he chose his wife.
Through Sonnet XLVI, Pablo Neruda uses literary devices to talk about his journey of finding his wife and his happiness with his decision. These literary devices include the imagery of the stars shows his admiration for his wife; the repetition of the phrase “I choose only” reinforces the idea that his wife is the only woman he loves; and the metaphors, such as “the indivisible wave of your body” (8) show that the narrator is truly in love with his wife.