Blue Heron Essay

Blue Heron Essay

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In Cold Mountain and "A Poem for the Blue Heron", tone is established in a multitude of ways. These two pieces of literature describe the characteristics and actions of a blue heron, both aiming for the same goal. However, Charles Frazier and Mary Oliver approach their slightly differing tones employing organization, metaphoric language, and diction.

Organization is a key element in Frazier's and Oliver's work, as it works directly to set the tone, as well as acting as a symbol of nature. Charles Frazier writes in long, descriptive sentences and paragraphs. These, along with the carefully chosen words in the smooth sentences, create a relaxing, peaceful tone and feel to the story. This tone reflects on the symbolic part of structure; that nature works in smooth, careful ways; everything is planned. On the other hand, Oliver writes in broken, choppy sentences, often breaking in the middle and resuming the next line down. This makes for a mysterious, erratic tone towards nature, as well as the blue heron. The blue heron, in this poem, acts rigidly and harshly in movement (as reflected by the short, fragmented sentences), while in Cold Mountain, the heron is smooth and graceful. Punctuation also adds to tone with respect to the blue heron. In Cold Mountain, the paragraphs often end in ways such as "after a deep reflection..." and "coming up short...." These rounds out the passages, allowing them to come to a gradual close instead of short, abrupt finishes to the sentences. This affects the tone of the passage as well as relates to the author's attitude towards the heron. In this passage, the heron moves slowly and steadily, with no abrupt motions, leading to a smooth and constant tone. However, the poem ends all sentences with a...


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...e the heron both literally and figuratively add to the sense of wonder in the tone of the passage. In the poem by Mary Oliver, the diction used to describe the heron is completely different. The words "gray", "hunched", "clutching", and "scant" give the poem a desperate, unpredictable view of nature. The tone is dreary, begrudging, and almost helpless. Diction truly can take hold of the tone of a work and steer it in whatever direction it wishes.

The two tones between Cold Mountain and "A Poem for the Blue Heron" differ greatly as demonstrated by the language used in these works. The tone is so essential to convey the author's thoughts, and Frazier and Oliver have a strong grasp on this concept. Without literary language and devices, the tone would not be distinguishable and the difference between these two works would surely not be analytically recognizable.

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