Frank the complicated identity of the Chilean

Frank Carson

Intro to Poetry Writing  

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Prof. Barbu



A poem with a very simple message, Ode to
the Tomato is a really great poem to read which also goes in depth in
many things through images which are open to multiple perspectives. This poem
was made in 1954 as a part of the book series, Elementary Odes. The
poem reverses the myth that there really isn’t anything to celebrate in the simple
world today. In the poem, the tomato is supposed to be transformed and
replicate an average Chilean and deal with similar civil problems and political
crimes. The writing starts at the conclusion of the year and begins to talk
about how it doesn’t bring closure but brings new possibilities. Then in December,
people are gathered celebrating Tomatina which is the festival of tomatoes. In
the beginning of the poem when tomatoes are being thrown streets are flooded
with tomato juice and a good amount of harvest of tomatoes and the throwing
spree became a representative of celebrating native identity. This is because,
tomatoes started in Latin America before they were carried in to Europe. The sentence
in the poem “light is halved like a tomato” hints at the possible bloodshed in
Chile in the result of civil strife and the dictatorship that went on. The
tomatoes that ease on the counter tops, among the glasses, butter dishes, blue,
slat cellars, resemble the bonding among people who are different from one
another such as, the glasses, salt cellars, and butter dishes. The poet makes
an obvious reference to the civil conflict and social fighting which went
against the common citizen. It is very interesting that the poet Neruda chooses
the word “assassinate” for this he holds the whole nation “we” responsible for
it. The word puts stress
on the importance of the rights of the citizen in the country. Things the poet
says such as, “red viscera,”, “living flesh” make for a very bloody image in my
head which makes it into a would never anything to do with politics “the
salads/ of Chile” find life rough and enjoyable at the same time, “a cool/
sun”.  The tomatoes resemble the complicated
identity of the Chilean citizen whose whole life has a lot of simple joys in it.

 The weddings take place and they are
really socially inclusive which were festive affairs that tomatoes and onions come
together. In the poem, it talks about the obvious culinary association when the
poem says, “it is wed/ to the blonde onion”, the big reason for the poet
bringing in an onion and saying it is “blonde” is to describe the varieties of
a Chilean citizen who has layers. Filial oil of the olive tree references the
Spanish influence in Chile. When the poem referenced ingredients such as pepper,
salt, and all the spices that individually enhance the taste and flavor of the
“day’s dish” suggests a harmonious group of people who are similar and very
racially distinct.


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