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How is the story told in Hardy's "Neutral Tones"?

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Joe Breddy NEUTRAL TONES Hardy uses various methods to tell the story in neutral tones which is written in the form of a poem. Neutral Tones tells the story of disappointment in love and life between two lovers and focuses on a theme of death. The setting of the poem is on a ?winter day?, this is significantly important as Hardy uses this to convey a sense of sadness; the ?winter? connotes cold which is seen to be lonely and death-like. Also, the winter could be a metaphor for the frosty nature of the two lovers? relationship? This negativity is empathised because it appears so early in the poem ?we stood by a pond that winter day?. ...read more.


Following the apparent break up of a relationship the persona remembers a moment spent with their partner. The person feels deceived by love. As a result of this the setting is presented in a dead and neutral way using a semantic and connotations of death: ?fallen from an ash and were gray?. The persona?s interpretation of his surroundings as ?gray? illustrates his lack of emotion as it is a dull colour. It seems as if his experience of love has distorted the way he perceives his memories and nature. The verb ?fallen? used in the past tense, shows that the story is a memory. ...read more.


However this oxymoronic metaphor continues after having left a strong impression on the reader; it is now described as only ?alive enough to have the strength to die? which symbolizes Hardy?s aggression. Hardy?s use of expressive language in the third stanza has the objective of making the reader feel discourages which is a possible destination emotionally. Structurally ?neutral tones? is a short poem arraigned in four stanzas. The four stanzas have some relation to the four seasons of the year as there is a strong theme of nature throughout the poem. The poem starts and ends in the same place, the pond, this suggests the he cannot escape the never ending cycle of love and pain he has experience. ...read more.

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