Tone of Truth

1822 Words Feb 24th, 2013 8 Pages
Tone of “Truth” The poem, “Truth,” by Gwendolyn Brooks, was written in 1949, during a continuing era of black oppression in America. Brooks was born June 7, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas but her family moved to Chicago shortly after her birth, according to her biographer, Georg Kent (2). The Poetry Foundation biography of Gwendolyn Brooks says her father was a janitor who had dreamt of becoming a doctor and her mother was a schoolteacher and classically trained pianist (Halley). Both of her parents had dreamt about living the “American Dream” and both suffered hard times and disappointment instead. Brooks’ parents were very supportive of her passion for reading and writing and first sensed her talent at age seven, when she started writing …show more content…
In an autobiography, Brooks wrote a passage that the Poetry Foundation quoted from stating, “I know that the Black emphasis must be not against white but for Black…” (Halley). Brooks feels strongly that blacks should take more pride in themselves and their heritage and take positive actions to make things better for themselves.
Brooks’ views show through the tone or voice of the speaker in her poem “Truth”. Poets use tone to convey to the readers much more than what is plainly written on the page. Kirszner explains in Portable Literature: Reading Writing Reacting, “The tone of a poem conveys the speaker’s attitude toward his or her subject or audience,” (436). The tone or attitude of the speaker is earnest about how human it is to want to run and hide from that which we fear. The speaker says, “Shall we not flee / Into the shelter / Of the familiar,” (15-17). In this case people fear the truth because it is unfamiliar. It has been observed by many reviewers that Brooks’ work has remained objective about human nature (Halley). The speaker also has a reflective attitude asking thoughtful questions such as, “How shall we greet him? / Shall we not dread him / Shall we not fear him,” (2-4), to invoke thought in the reader about what their actions might be if they were face to face with a devastating truth. The speaker is suggestive but rather than confronting or scolding the reader by telling them
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