VARIOUS LITERARY DEVICES TO ESTABLISH THE RIGHT TONE A WITTY, SARDONIC TONE CAN BE ESTABLISHED STYLISTICALLY BY IRONY,SATIRE & WORDPLAY A DREARY TONE CAN BE ESTABLISHED STYLISTICALLY BY IMAGERY, A PATTERN OF WORD CHOICE & REPETITION AN OBJECTIVE, SERIOUS TONE CAN BE ESTABLISHED STYLISTICALLY BY ANALYTICAL APPROACH
Irony : ironically, ‘the jungle is safer than the city’. Word Choice : Witty and informal, ‘nasty old food chain; onomatopoetical, ‘flick, crunch and wriggle’; sharp and critical, ‘terminated, anonymity and cosmetic debris. Word Play : ‘croak’ and ‘severance’ Satire : his reference to marriage in sardonic expression, “some stranger who calls herself my wife” BACK
Imagery, metaphors and similes : a) The winos are like ragged apes. b) The city is like a jungle. c) His office is a permanent grave. Word choice : furtively, hunched, burnt, boarded, dull, sticky, dog dung, grave. Repetition : he repeats the word fear five times and he repeats grave in an effective comparison. BACK
Analysis : broad statement such as ‘ New York is a city that has failed’, followed by a series of statement that describe it specifically. E.g: High rents. NEXT BACK
“We were small and thought we knew nothing Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires.” Tone : nostalgic, wistful, with a childish innocence and a sense of awe and adventure. “We were eye-level with the white cups Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.” Style : lyrical with a narrative element. Selective, sharp, suggestive word choice as in “sizzling wires.”
“ Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Tone : sad and affectionate, a powerful, plaintive exhortation. Style : traditional form and villanelle.
“I never asked for anything myself; giving is more blessed and leaves you free. There was a man, married and fond of whiskey. Given the limitations of men, he loved me. Lord, we laid concern upon our bodies but then he left. Everything has its time. We used to dance. He made me feel the way a human wants to feel and fears to.” Tone : earthy, colloquial, wistful, philosophical. Style : though Ruby speaks in a confessional and autobiographical way, the poem cannot be called “confession”. There is no end-line pattern and it is very narrative.
“Bit my pretty red heart in two. I was ten when they buried you. At twenty I tried to die And get back, back, back to you. I thought even the bones would do.” Tone : confessional, angry, hostile, violent, desperate and a little hysterical and paranoid. Style : melodic, magnificent and sometimes shocking imagery and word choice.
Tone and style is designed to give you some insight into an aspect of writing that is all too often treated with a good deal and vagueness.