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The poem “The Death of a Toad” incorporates the literary devices of structure, syntax, imagery, and diction to portray the speakers’ sarcasm. The poet leads the reader through the detailed stages of the toad’s death through out every stanza. The grammatical forms that the speaker uses is to help depict the scene of the dying toad. Another tool the speaker uses is to refer to death in an indirect way. The stanzas progressively illustrate the dying toad as well as the cynical view of the speaker.
The first stanza incorporates a lot of imagery and syntax. “A toad the power mower caught,”(line1). The use of syntax in the very first sentence is to catch the reader’s attention and to paint an image for them. The stanza goes on to talk about how the toad hobbles with it’s wounded leg to the edge of the garden, “Under the cineraria leaves”(line4). The speaker uses the word cineraria, which is similar to a cinerarium, a place where the ashes of the deceased are kept. By using this, the speaker further illustrates the death of the toad. “Low and final glade.”(Line6) this line is like a metaphor for the dying toad, the final rest for the toad could be the final glade. In the first stanza it seems as if the speaker is making fun of the dying toad saying the garden sanctuaries him as if he were a person. The opening line even seems a bit humorous to the reader. The following stanzas also have a tone of sarcasm.
The second stanza is the toad in the final stages of its life. The blood is flowing from the toad onto the earth while his eyes become stone like. The speaker says “Toward some deep monotone.”(Line12) by using monotone the speaker gets a feeling of endless death with out emotion. The speaker also talks about the staring eyes of the toad as if he felt pain. The first sentence uses syntax, as in the first stanza, to illustrate the dying. The sarcasm is not so apparent in this stanza. However there are small significant hints to it, such as the overly dramatic the tone the speaker portrays.
The dramatic tone is carried over to the third stanza.
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The speaker uses many devices to reveal his response to the death of the toad. The structure of the poem is very important. Through the progression of stanzas is also the progression of the toad’s death. Also, every stanza becomes more sarcastic. The syntax the speaker uses is also essential it catches the reader’s attention and makes an image. The imagery is very important also. The actual toad is seen hopping to toad heaven or pitifully hobbling to the edge of the garden, which illustrates a humorous scene. The words the speaker uses inadvertently refer to death. The speaker seems to respond to an animal dying as a common thing and one that doesn’t provoke much emotion. The reader and pick up on a certain cynical aspect of the poem.