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Analysis of To an Athlete Dying Young - Assignment Example

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This paper seeks to analyze "To an Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman in terms of the tones, word choice, imageries, sounds and symbols employed in it. The author comes to the conclusion that it is the understanding of these literary devices that make the poem rich and facilitate its appreciation…
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Analysis of To an Athlete Dying Young
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Download file to see previous pages The voice and tone of a poem’s narrator provide a better picture of what the narrator wants to convey to his readers. The tone of the poem communicates to the reader “how the speaker feels about himself or herself” and in fact, the tone of the poem convinces the readers of the attitude with which one needs to approach the poem (Chapter 2: Listening to a Voice 19). In order to grasp the tone of the poem, the reader needs to pay attention to the various suggestions or indicators of the tone in a poem and such indicators include understanding of the speaker or persona in the poem, the choice of words, use of various phrases, repetitions, ironies (verbal irony, dramatic irony, and sarcasm), understatements, overstatements, and the various figures of speech employed in the poem. As any reader expects, the poem "To an Athlete Dying Young" echoes the sad poignant tone of the narrator/speaker as he is talking about the death of a youth. The reader can clearly understand that the speaker of the poem is a persona of the author, a fictitious character (most probably an elderly person who has seen the victorious procession of the athlete, his funeral procession and who finally makes some philosophical broodings over the unexpected phenomenon of death). However, one comes across myriads of tones in the poem. In the first stanza, the poem starts with a tone of pride and happiness where the speaker elaborates on the past accomplishments of the athlete and his celebrations over his achievements. Expressions such as “won the race”, “cheering by” and “shoulder-high” suggest the achievement of the athlete and the subsequent reception offered to him. However, from the second stanza onwards the tone of the poem shifts to that of a depressing one where the speaker is sad and depressed at the contrasting funeral procession of the athlete. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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