Neutral Tones Analysis
Topics: Poetry, Stanza, Depression, Emotion, Linguistics, Sadness / Pages: 3 (688 words) / Published: Sep 8th, 2013

"Neutral Tones" by Thomas Hardy is very neutral in tone; its melancholic note is created by a narrator reflecting on the termination of a relationship. Throughout, a soothing yet depressing language illustrates this duality. Hardy uses a variety of techniques to highlight sadness and emotions in the narrator.
In the first stanza the scene and atmosphere is set, "we stood by a pond that winter day".No harsh sounds are present and the sentence epitomises the tranquillity yet disheartening nature of the poem. In the second line we get even more of these very "neutral" monosyllabic words "the sun was white, as though chidden of God" in this sentence the poets attempt to stay within his own themes are very explicit by the use of the adjective "white" to describe the sun, the sun normally represented by the color yellow and a symbol for happiness and life. The very dismal atmosphere is reinforced by the use of the alliteration of "L creating a lazy yet unsatisfying tone. The further sibilance of "starving sod creates a harsh sound, adding a further layer of hopelessness. The metaphor of the "few leaves"symbolises the end of an era, hinting towards the dying of life. Yet, it is not life that died, but love.
The next stanza explores deeper into the nature of their relationship: "Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove over tedious riddles of years ago." This can be interpreted to mean the couple repeat the same fights without progress, the insignificance of their communication exposed through the tired and morbid undertone seen in lines such as "And some words played between us to and fro-"This shows fundamental flaws in their communication, making a meaningful relationship seem impossible.
The first line of the third stanza, in describing her smile, contains a heart-wrenching oxymoron. Normally a facial gesture associated with happiness and joy, here it is described as "the deadest thing". This provokes strong emotion in the reader, as the cold causality of the gesture

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