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Tone, Rhyme, and Irony in Thomas Hardy's the workbox - Essay Example

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Though there are many literary elements, Hardy focuses on three in his poem. Through tone, rhyme, and irony, Thomas Hardy exposes the uncertain intentions and…
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Tone, Rhyme, and Irony in Thomas Hardy's the workbox

Download file to see previous pages... The tone of the poem is set as aggressive and menacing in the first line of the poem with the forceful and demeaning words, “See, here’s the workbox, little wife,” (Hardy 374). The opening words of the poem, where the husband greets his wife, are seemingly innocent enough unless the reader close reads and notices an almost overpowering sense of control. The husband’s intentions were never to give a gift to his wife, but a reminder of an issue she has caused for him. The overall tone can be mistaken for a happy and light conversation between the man and his wife until further read into, when the reader can tell there is a hidden fact they both know of. The narrator announces in the aggressive tone that he has made something for his wife to take a look at. In the following stanza, it is revealed that the workbox the narrator constructed of polished oak is a present to his wife. Gifts signify gratitude and rewarding. However, the tone in which the husband opens to present his wife with the gift is aggressive and angry in its tone. The combined tone of anger and control shows that the giving of the gift is ironical because it is not a present the husband gives in joy and thankfulness to his wife.
A sense of irony comes into play in the first stanza when the tone set by the first two lines is taken into consideration. The aggressive tone of the opening words along with the context that the rest of the stanza carries is enough to reveal a large amount of ironic quality.“ ‘See, here’s the workbox, little wife, that I made of polished oak.’ He was joiner, of village life, She came from borough folk” Throughout the rest of the poem we learn details about the source of the materials and the wife’s past life which reveal the nature of the relationship through the real intentions of the husband and his wifes silence. Throughout the poem, irony intertwines in the theme to show that a gift from a loved one can be an act that is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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