Neutral Tones


Neutral Tones

Ideas/ Theme - Neutral Tones is ostensibly about the narrator’s feelings regarding a break up. In that respect it could be likened to James Fenton’s “In Paris With You” however this piece is very different in tone. The narrator seems to reflect on their relationship in a very negative way and it is not really about the narrator moving on, more so reflecting on their past. More often than not in romantic poetry nature is used to describe things of beauty but this poem is very different, very subversive, as it uses nature to create a bleak image

Language - the title od the poem is polysemantic. firstly, it conjures the calm, reasoned quality spoken neutral tones would have, but this is immediately put at odds with teh bitter emotions evident in the rest of the poem, and in this respect, the title is ironic, because the feelings are anything but neutral.

                  - Pathetic fallicy helps capture the winter mirrors the death and decay. "ash" could mean a tree, or the ash that is left after the fire of love has burned out.

                  - Possibly, the separated couple strives to use neutral tones so that they can have a mature discussion and try to unpick the „tedious riddles‟ that plagued their affair.

                   - The neutral tones are also symbolic of a life devoid of colour, vitality and joy, and here, the title directly represents the life of the narrator in the wake of his failed love affairs.

                  - The neutral tones referred to directly in the poem are the „white‟ sun and the „gray‟ leaves. Both are cool, sombre colours, but also emphasize the atmosphere of death and decay that pervades the poem.

                  - Where the sun should be a golden source of warmth and joy, in its current „God-curst‟ state it is unable to fulfil its usual role.



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