Tone

Topics: English-language films, Entertainment, The Reader Pages: 1 (384 words) Published: February 1, 2008
The speaker feels condescending toward the funeral scene but respectful towards the man who died in the following excerpt by Henry James.

The author welcomes the reader to the funeral scene of Mr. Odger, an honorable man of humble origin. The speaker seems to be amused by the funeral, whereas one as the reader expects a feeling of sympathy for the person who just passed away. Nevertheless, this event of mournfulness is mostly describe as having surroundings of a spectacle. The speaker even mentions that "the spectacle was on I [the speaker] should have been sorry to miss." This statement suggests, ironically that the event taking place is so tremendous and so significant that it just could not be missed. This patronizing attitude is carried throughout the entire passage. For instance the use of figurative language as an extension to reveal the amusement yet seriousness of the event, "as a box at a play," basically this gives the reader an insight to draw a picture in one's mind of a "serious comedy." Beyond the surface of the statement, it also conveys the ambiance of the funeral formed by the people attending such an event. People such as "the London rabble, the metropolitan mob, the decent poor and the indecent" and other "dregs of population" also add to the element of disdain in the passage. The words dreg, rabble as well as mob give the reader a sensation of the least desirable portion of humanity like residue. Although it was a funeral that the speaker was attending, he would have "not call it a tragedy." However the attitude held toward the funeral is blended with a feeling of admiration given off by the speaker toward the man who died. Though Mr. Odger was of "humble origins" his arduous "desire to get into Parliament" is what distinguished him from being ordinary. Though he never achieved his dream but only "knocked in vain at the door that opens but to golden keys," the reader once again depicts the use of figurative language by the speaker. As the...
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