Comparing the poems Neutral Tones and Absence Essay

Comparing the poems Neutral Tones and Absence Essay

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Comparing the poems Neutral Tones and Absence

Both the poems 'Neutral Tones' by Thomas Hardy and 'Absence' by
Elizabeth Jennings mention and describe the poets' feelings about
losing their partners. Even though the general theme, the loss of
love, is the same, many features such as tone, imagery, language and
rhyme scheme differ from each other.

Hardy emphasises more on his feelings towards his break up. He doesn't
actually mention how he feels, but instead, the imagery he uses and
the way he describes his ex-girlfriend shows that he feels broken and
angry. The tone in this poem is very solemn and dull, though it is
quite strong in some areas like "The smile on your mouth was the
deadest thing" and "your face, and the God-curst sun grayish leaves".
Hardy also got more vigorous and frustrated towards the end of the
poem. In Jennings's poem, the tone is much different. Unlike Hardy,
she describes her surroundings and loneliness, not how her partner
looks like. Jennings's poem builds up from a calm tone to an irritated
one. The first stanza of 'Absence' describes her surroundings, the
second, how she is alone and in the third, how her loneliness affects
her. The last stanza is the fiercest, much more vigorous compared to
the first stanza. "For under all the gentleness there came an
earthquake tremor" The second stanza of her poem is like the balance
between the first and last stanza. This stanza links her cheerful
images to her exasperation. "Singing an ecstasy I could not share,
played cunning in my thoughts" Jennings's poem is also more 'factual'
as she talks more about the scenery around her - "The fountains
sprayed their usual steady jet". The tone in this poem is steady, and
her anger builds gradual...

... middle of paper ...

...e landscape, colours, and
facial features to convey his heart brokenness. I liked the way Hardy
chose an aggravated tone for his poem and how he has developed it
towards the end to describe his girlfriend's face. From his poem, I
could actually feel Hardy's devastation because he even brought in the
bitter side of nature to enhance his feelings. Hardy also had a
dramatic ending where he used the alliteration "wrings with wrongs". I
also liked the way Hardy had combined all his anger and problems and
merged them into his ex-girlfriend's face. I think Hardy was
successful in using imagery by describing the surroundings in the
beginning of the poem and concluding with the surroundings as well.
Hardy's choice of language was also appropriate to describe his
emotions. All in all, I think Hardy was very successful in using vivid
imagery to portray his feelings.

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