Compare and Contrast

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Compare and Contrast ‘Neutral Tones’ by Thomas Hardy and ‘Absence’ by Elizabeth Jennings.

In both poems Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth Jennings they have lost a person they were close to. There are some similarities in their feeling but there responses are different. Neither poets can forget the experience and are reminiscing on the situation. They are both going back to the place where they were with the people they loved. However in ‘Absence’ she has actually gone to the place they were together and in ‘Neutral Tones’ he is remembering the time they where together.

“Neutral Tones” comes across as very negative. His language suggests that he has grown bitter towards love. He uses pessimistic words such as ‘grey’, ‘tedious’, ‘deadest’, ‘bitterness’, ‘ominous’ and ‘wrings’. It also suggests he is quite angry when he describes the sun as ‘white’ and ‘chidden of God.‘ This is also using pathetic fallacy as it reflects his feelings. He also states that ‘love deceives’ showing how cynical he has grown towards love and relationships.

Elizabeth Jennings poem is less cynical and angry. It is more sad than angry. It is also a lot more personal as if she is writing directly to the person she has lost. There is also mention of being shaken consistently though the poem. She describes it as ‘an earthquake’ which shows how devastated she’s feeling as an earthquake is quite dramatic. The birds are described as being ‘shook out of the trees’ which suggests forced discomfort to the birds just as she feels it is an unnatural loss. Also saying there was no ‘discord shake the level breeze.’ This is a contradiction to how she is actually feeling. On the last line of the poem it says she is ‘shaken by my thinking of your name’. The suggestion of being ‘shaken’ shows how out of place she feels about the person she loved not being with her anymore. Furthermore it suggests the person she has lost has died whereas in Thomas Hardys’ poem he appears to have had a relationship that has...
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