Neutral Tones By Thomas Hardy

1420 WordsOct 3, 20166 Pages
“Neutral Tones,” a poem written by Thomas Hardy, is composed of four stanzas with each stanza consisting of four lines. The first and fourth line of each stanza rhyme, while the second and third line of each stanza rhyme. Each line is short enough to be spoken with a single breath, and the last line of each stanza is slightly indented. Both the tone and diction throughout the poem is consistently depressing. The theme of “Neutral Tones” is that love is not always what one would expect it to be. The theme is expressed as the speaker reflects upon a past relationship that did not end smoothly. The gloomy mood of the poem is immediately set in the first stanza. The opening sentence, “We stood by a pond that winter day,” provides details regarding the setting (1). The verb tense informs the reader that the speaker is reminiscing on a day that has happened in the past. Using the word “that” clues the reader in that the day being reflected upon was one of great importance to the speaker. Being that “winter” has a negative connotation as the depressing season, the tone is further set by mentioning the time of year; winter is lonely, frigid, and dormant. Using “winter” as the season sets the depressing tone for love to die similarly to how the leaves mentioned in the poem are also dying (3). The third line, “a few leaves lay on the starving sod,” showcases the death of the leaves which otherwise would be an ordinary event if it did not enhance the mood. The use of personification
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