Analysis of Mood in Thoughts in Middle of the Night by Paul Kelly

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“Thoughts in the Middle of the Night” by Paul Kelly is about insomnia and the restlessness of one’s mind. The poem conveys the frustrations of the speaker about being unable to find peace and rest. The idea of futility is also tackled in the poem as nothing is changed by the end of the poem. The poet makes use of imagery of the haunting “greenish glow of the bedside clock radio”, which sticks out in the darkness. The reader can visualize an image of a person tossing and turning and completely unable to fall asleep. The idea of the glow of the clock radio can also reflect how the speaker is kept awake by his thoughts, who glow on in the midst of the darkness of his mind, unallowing him to find the rest his mind desires. This conveys the frustration and futility of the speaker as no matter what he does he is yet still unable to fall asleep. The speaker’s “thoughts” are also further personified as “little birds perching on a wire”. This reflects the nature of the speaker’s thoughts, how they seem to multiply like birds on a wire, and appear to multiply as time passes. This evokes feelings of restlessness and slight annoyance from the reader. The idea of a “crooning restless choir” also adds to the annoyance that the speaker feels as they are cannot be silenced. The steady increase of the thoughts in the speaker’s head add to this too. The thoughts then suddenly turn and the speaker speaks of how one is reminded of his many mistakes and failures that all suddenly seem to haunt him so clear in the night. That is when “little things magnify”, reflective of how suddenly even the smallest mistakes seem suddenly so important during that time. The speaker evokes the idea of futility of the person attempting to sleep, as the reader is allowed to paint an image of a person suddenly confronted by every single small mistake he made in the day, causing him to feel regret. The regret is conveyed through the “sad parade” that confronts the person attempting to sleep. The...
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