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Neutral tones - Thomas Hardy

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by

Nghi Huynh

on 10 September 2015

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Transcript of Neutral tones - Thomas Hardy

Neutral tones - Thomas Hardy
We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;
– They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

Brief Background
First stanza
Second stanza
Third stanza
"deadest"
- strong emotion, the ultimate dead
"Alive enough to have strength to die
" - something that just have enough energy to die
The smile is personified to be lack of liveliness.
"grin of bitterness"
All the description above show that the girl had no interest in Thomas Hardy and she forced herself to smile to be polite.
"ominous"
- giving an impression of something bad is going to happen.
"a-wing"
- fly past
simile- her grin compare to an ominous
predict that the relationship is going to end
Fourth stanza
Still keep the neutral tone but can makes the reader feel pain.
"keen lesson"
- painful lesson
"deceives"
- to cheat on someone, to lie
"wrings"
- to squeezing with force
alliteration
"wrings with wrong"
could show us his pain
"God-curst"
- curse (sadness -> anger)
"And a pond edged with grayish leaves."
- an echo to the beginning of the poem, leaves a depressed impression on the readers.
paint a picture of the scene
"sun was white"
- yellow: happiness, white: sadness
"chidden"
- told off
"sod"
- earth
"starving sod"
- harsh sound, reflect on the writer feelings.
"And a few leaves lay on the starving sod"
- paint an image of a dry up ground with a few leaves, looks nearly dead, symbol of where their relationship is heading.
"ash"
- ash tree, loose all the leaves and get gray in winter.
"gray"
- neutral colour, sad

"rove"
- to look everywhere with judgement
"tedious"
- boring
She is judging him. They are definitely not soul mates. She finds that he is like a riddle, hard to understand.
Line 3 - they are just saying words to fill up the silence.
"to and fro"
- repeated
"words played"
- the conversation is so boring that it seems like the words is controlling them.
Line 4 - T.H knows that their relationship is just nothing more than their talks; it is not going well.
This poem is about an end of Thomas Hardy 's relationship. The couple was not madly in love. Their relationship was boring.
This poem portraits love is painful and a lie.
The title Neutral Tones is ironic. It painted a neutral scene, she seems that she is neutral, smiling and talking. But it is actually fake, and love is bitter and sad.
Rhyming: ABBA ABBA
First stanza - paint the scene
Second, third stanza - describer his lover
Fourth stanza - reflects on the relationship
Full transcript