Tone in Patterns

Tone Examples in Patterns :

Patterns 6

"Up and down..."   (Patterns)

The repetition of “up and down” underscores the futile nature of her movement, emphasizing the melancholic tone that has taken over the poem. She cannot exercise meaningful action; all she can do is pace these pre-laid paths. This stunted action symbolizes her powerlessness over her situation: she cannot change the fact that her lover has died any more than she can change the catastrophic effect this will have on her life and hopes.

"squirmed like snakes..."   (Patterns)

The speaker uses this simile to describe her experience of shock and pain. The letters could “squirm like snakes” because they become blurred through her tears. They could also “squirm” because her disbelief or shock warps her vision of the world. If we compare the words to “snakes,” creatures used to symbolize evil and danger, this works to imbue readers with the speaker’s feeling of panic and foreboding.

"white, morning sunlight,..."   (Patterns)

Notice that this description of the sunlight lacks the warmth and joy of the springtime garden. The “white” sunlight has connotations of cold brightness, or a harsh light that is unkind to the eyes. As soon as the speaker learns of her lover’s death, her “springtime” is replaced by this cold, sterile light. This signifies the moment in which her life shifts and she loses the promise of her future.

"shadows..."   (Patterns)

Notice that as the speaker shifts back to the present, her perception of the setting changes. Shadows replace the “light laughing maze” and and speaker’s power disappears. With this shift in setting come a darker tone that signifies her weakness and gloom on this afternoon.

";..."   (Patterns)

The type of punctuation used in literature has a strong bearing on how we read words and phrases. In this case, the semicolon here indicates a close relationship between two independent clauses. This allows us to understand that the speaker considers there to be a very close association between herself and the blossoming lime tree—as the speaker weeps, the tree also weeps by dropping flowers. That the tree is in blossom also serves to suggest that the speaker views herself as also in full bloom, or in the prime of her life, ready for love.

"Wars..."   (Patterns)

The use of “wars” as a verb here not only indicates the strength of the speaker’s passion against “the stiff brocade,” but it also introduces the idea of war into the poem. War has historically allowed a privileged few to trade the lives of others for desired patterns of behavior around the world, such as territorial disputes, societal differences, and bigoted aggression.