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Neutral Tones
Hardy is reflecting on his relationship with Emma - he is lacking in any emotion (apathy)
The speaker addresses an estranged lover and reminisces about a moment in the past
which anticipated the demise of their relationship
The first three stanzas describe the incident, the fourth reflects…

Page 2

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Winter day - lifeless season, rhymes with gray to
emphasise bleakness
White - cold, monochromatic, connotations of
sterile environment, drained of all vitality. Pathetic
fallacy, the sun matches the mood of the narrator.
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod; Few leaves lay - reminder of the end…

Page 3

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Alive enough... - it's alive enough to make it
painful ­ `die' suggests it was love fated to fail.
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby Ominous bird a-wing - sign of bad luck to come,
Like an ominous bird a-wing.... associated with fortune telling
Ominous - hints that lover…

Page 4

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Enclosed rhyme scheme ( a b b a): repetitive, predictable like relationship. Middle lines are
'trapped' in the middle echoing how narrator felt in relationship?
Cyclic: Words 'gray' 'pond' + 'God' repeated at the end giving poem cyclic quality - reflects the
continuous 'flow'/ fluidity of life
(so much bitterness..…


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