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Diction, Tone and Irony
Transcript of Diction, Tone and Irony
By: Emma Sterritt
Mother to Son
About the Author
Mother to Son
Song for an April Dusk
Song for an April Dusk
Dorthy Parker was born in 1893
She did not have an easy start in life
She was born in New Jersey
Her mother died before she was five
She was artistic and played piano to make a living.
She worked as an editorial assistant for magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair
She became one of the only female members in a famous writers group called the Algonquin Round Table
Eventually she moved to Hollywood and worked as a screen writer
She died in 1967.
The poem Song for an April Dusk is written by Dorothy Parker. It uses poetic tone and irony accompanied by beautiful pictures to have the reader see what the poem is saying (imagery). The point of view in the poem is the author being told stories by a person who we do not know. This poem uses irony by making you think something is going to happen, but then the opposite happens.
The author is being told stories of the things she mentioned in the poem, the person who is telling the stories is a friend, but then with an ironic twist she says in the poem “Tell me stories of things like this, and, boy, will I be bored!”(This is where the irony is used). The poem creates a charming and happy rhythm with a new beat of imagery in each line and a twist at the very end which takes you by surprise and makes you feel interesting.
In mother to son, the son fails a test and then tries to give up. The mother, having had bad experiences in life, tells him that he should not give up, and tries to lead up the stairway to graduation. The author uses diction in this poem by using words and phrases chosen to sound in a particular way. The words are not pronounced correctly, because she is supposed to be uneducated. Her grammar is incorrect, also to show that she is uneducated. Her wording sounds like this for a reason as well.
It is like that to create emphasis, and to make you feel a certain way. She says "And boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor, bare.", but we would most likely say it someway differently, like "With boards torn up, and places bare, without any carpet on the floor." or something to that effect.The writer dictated what words and the way he organized those words to create this effect.
Langston Hughes was born in 1902
Was an African-American writer and a very influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
When he was a child, his parents separated
This separation had an influence on his writing
He was raised by his grandma
Her stories gave him a love for the traditions of his people
Hughes' also wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as poetry.
He died May 22, 1967 at age 65
In this poem, the author is trying to say to everyone to not give up. He is trying to say that life is not easy, and that if something or someone comes and smacks you in the face (literally or metaphorically) that you should not just lie down on the ground and give up. He says that you have to keep trying, and that you cannot let something stop you from living your life the way you want to.
About the Author
Dorothy Parker - (1893 - 1967)
Poetic diction: Poetic Diction refers to the style, vocabulary, metaphors and phrasing used in a poem. This helps to convey the feeling of the poem to the reader. Poems with peaceful sounding vocabulary will make the reader feel calm. A poem with a harsh, choppy style could make the reader angry or frustrated. A poems job is to convey any feeling to the reader. The poem “Mother to Son” gives the reader a hopeful feeling because the mother is telling her son to never give up. She explains that life has ups and downs but she is “still climbing”. The southern vocabulary and reassuring sentences is the diction that conveys a message. The choice of words as opposed to others is diction.
Irony: A manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme or emotion.
Thank Heaven! the crisis,
The danger is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last,
And the fever called "Living"
Is conquered at last.
For Annie, By Edgar Allen Poe
In this poem, the author Edgar Allen Poe used irony is showed by using words that normally would signify something different than the actual meaning, but ends up having an ironic and unexpected meaning. In this poem, you are told that there is a person, and this person is dying
of illness. It makes you believe that this person will survive, but this person instead dies, and so it is over and 'the fever called "living" is conquered at last.
Langston Hughes - (1902 - 1967)
Song For An April Dusk
Mother To Son
Read through the graphic poem silently. Use the illustrations to help you understand the mood of the speaker. Practice Reading the poem out loud, changing your tone to fit the words. When you are ready, present a dramatic reading of the poem to a small group. Ask the listeners to tell you what they think of the reading.
Write a poem entitled Son to Mother in which the son responds to the mother advice. Think about how the language and tone of your poem might be similar or different from that of Hughes'.
Why do you think that this poem is called "Song For An April Dusk"? Do you think that the title might be ironic? Why or why not?
Create your own poem with a twist. Choose something that you don't like (e.g., a food, a popular song, etc) and begin to write a poem about how much you like it. Then, in the final line, put in a twist!
The theme of this poem is somewhat magical, as well as a fantasy theme. the poem is also about what she thinks is boring, and what she would not like you to tell her stories about.
A poem's tone is the attitude or mood that its style implies. It is created by the poem’s vocabulary, use of figurative language and how the poem is read. It can affect your entire perception of the poem, and could give it an entirely different meaning. For example, a poem with the line “I wanted to kill him” could be understood in different ways. If the tone of the poem had been dark and serious throughout, we would take those words literally. However, if the tone of the poem had been light and humorous throughout, then those words would be taken as a joke, not at all serious. Other examples of tone include: smug, cold, abashed, critical, coy, dreamy, self-justifying and boastful.