Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree, And a pond edged with grayish leaves. Its looks as though it has been censured by God. This lends an even greater degree of distance to the incident that is recalled but also adds importance to the theme of memory which the poem is built around. The smile is not a vibrant thing that transports the narrator to joy but it is dead. Written in 1867, this poem was part of an anthology called Wessex Poems that was published in 1898. Since infidelity is a common issue, the background of Hardy is not needed to influence the interpretation of this poem. Evaluation on the quality and quantity of literary criticism; Style poetry; Admiration of the poems and essays.
There is no life, no interest left in them. It almost makes one think of a sociopath. Background Thomas Hardy is best known as a novelist and this fame has long overshadowed his reputation as a poet. Poised on the cusp of a new year and even, depending on your view of the matter, a new century , Hardy reflects in this poem on the events of the nineteenth century, his own feelings about the future, and his attitude to nature. It would be easy to sense a gloomy tone to this poem. The narrator uses a potent play on words when he mentions about the ash tree.
Now, as then, it seems suffused with that grim atmosphere so instantly recognizable as Hardyesque — a quality so palpable in poem after poem that it seems to exist above and beyond the poems themselves. In words filled with irony, the narrator says that the smile had only enough life to make the effort to die! In the first two lines of this stanza there is a suggestion that this has happened. This poem is about a man who is now reflecting later about the time he was stood up by the woman he loved. A poem gives you a window into a world and a good poem will make you want to peak back in that window later to find out what has changed. The fourth line introduces an element of dark humor. Thomas Hardy How can you account for the love you have for a favorite poem? The Wessex Poems are marked by a lack of adornment; they are generally bleak like the countryside that forms the background to most of these poems.
This means that they were probably unfaithful which would begin to shed some light on the outpouring that made up the majority of the previous stanza. This line hints that the woman is evil and capable of bringing harm to the narrator. Hardy, although he considered himself a poet, was not really renowned for his poetry during the course of his life. Form The poem has four stanzas of four lines - quatrains. Neutral Tones is a love poem, but focuses on the sadness of the end of a relationship rather than the joy of sharing love. .
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires. All references to colour appear to be pale, ashen colours rather than the beautiful vibrant colours often associated with nature and poems that reference the natural world. By using slightly archaic verb forms like this, Hardy can elevate the tone of his poem to sound more timeless and more serious. Second stanza Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove Over tedious riddles of years ago; And some words played between us to and fro On which lost the more by our love. This reusing of words is key and suggests a circular emotional journey. Form and Tone The poem is atypical of a Hardy poem and synonymous with poems produced in the romantic style. It is cold yet they are out in the open.
One of the best things about the poem is its unrelenting nature. Once again this sounds like the narrator is very bitter and this continues on in this stanza. Fourth stanza Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me Your face, and the God curst sun, and a tree, And a pond edged with grayish leaves. About Thomas Hardy is a famous and much lauded poet and novelist. So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew, And I was unaware. The article provides a critical interpretation of the poem and discusses the sense of tension the reader gets from the author through the reading of his poem. In the second line we know what it is.
Too much had been learnt, too much lost. The rhythm of the line suggests an impatient passing of time, like the drumming of fingers on a table. The thread of love and heartbreak ran through each and they are all poems that are relatable to all who reads these poems. His personal detached tone from the poem allows this to be possible. The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing Alive enough to have strength to die; And a grin of bitterness swept thereby Like an ominous bird a-wing. This first stanza paints a very glum picture indeed. There are two analytical interpretations of this poem in this article.
This poem was also written generally so it also bore no semblance to the life of Hardy. Though the poem is in first person and it speaks of the bitterness that comes after a failed relationship, the narrator sounds strangely detached — as though he realizes that there is nothing left to grieve for. Language The poet uses several words which have old-fashioned meanings. The poem, though often presented as a quaint Christmas ballad, evokes a tone of. The author discusses evidence that indicates Hardy studied the works of Milton, explores poetic fragments written by Hardy in his earliest attempts at verse, and analyzes personifications used. The setting bares no identification needed towards the writer and can be easily interpreted by the reader.
Colour is used throughout the poem to emphasise the tone of the poem. The recurring theme in this anthology is disappointment in love and life; here in Neutral Tones it is the end of a relationship that was at one time full of love. Perhaps it is because of this feeling of a lack of progress that the narrator feels so much bitterness. The second line sets forth this scene: the sun shines with a bleached white light, it lacks its golden glow. The line placement is very clever though as the enjambment line suggests that her eye was roving over riddles from years ago.
Overall Impression The poem is suffused with despair but nowhere is the tone of neutral melancholy really broken. Of course the title uses the word neutral which might suggest that the narrator has neutral feelings regarding his former relationship, but the tone of the poem reveals this to not be the case. The narrator seems to reflect on their relationship in a very negative way and it is not really about the narrator moving on, more so reflecting on their past. The fourth line compares the grin to a flying bird that portends death and destruction, may be a raven or a vulture. Analysis 1 Stanza The first line uses mostly monosyllabic words marking the lack of any movement. But if you do write about a poem and its context, be careful to include only details that reveal something about the poem. Memory In Hardy's re-telling, these events have been bleached of all their life.