English II Honors
28 March 2013
Tones of Love Poems
Pablo Neruda and Billy Collins both wrote poems about love; however, they each create individual tones through literary devices and relations. Neruda employs imagery and uses similarities between the speaker and his lover to create a serious tone, while Collins instead creates a satirical tone using metaphors and separating the narrator from his beloved. In “XVII,” Neruda employs imagery such as words like “dark,” “secret,” “soul,” and “shadow” to create a tone that demonstrates how the speaker’s love is deep and serious. The narrator makes it clear that he believes love is not superficial, and instead says that his love for this woman is like the “plant that never blooms,” and it “carries…the light of hidden flowers.” This dramatic change from dark to light imagery demonstrates how the narrator believes that love is unconditional and not based on beauty, which is demonstrated through the light inside the plant that does not bloom. Instead of comparing his love to a material object, like a beautiful flower, he implies that the true beauty is concealed inside, symbolized by the light inside the bud. Contrasting to Neruda’s poem, Collins creates a satirical tone in “Litany.” Instead of using imagery, this author uses metaphors to contrast his lover with objects to which she is not similar. Instead of comparing his beloved to objects that can be likened to her, as many love poems do, he lists many things she is not. Neruda’s purpose for using dissimilarities was to create a satirical tone, which almost mocks old-style love poems. He uses unstable objects to contrast against his lover. She is not fragile like “a house of cards,” nor is she easily bruised like “the plums on the counter.” He also states that she is not like the neglected “boots in the corner, nor the boat asleep in the boathouse.” He includes this comparison to show that she is not underappreciated, also giving the poem a mocking and satirical...
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