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What Is the Tone of the Poem "Ode to Enchanted Light"?


The tone of a poem represents the writer's attitude toward the subject and the reader. The speaker’s attitude is implied, relaying a certain emotional meaning. The tone of Pablo Neruda’s poem “Ode to Enchanted Light” can be understood as hopeful and optimistic, reflecting the speaker's passion for life and the natural world.

Tone

The writer’s attitude, the poem's tone, evokes certain feelings, such as anger, fear or hopefulness, in the person who reads the poem or the audience that hears the poem. This feeling in turn creates the atmosphere of the poem. For instance, if the tone evokes feelings of anticipation in the reader, then the atmosphere or the mood of the poem is mysterious.

Neruda

“Ode to Enchanted Light” is a poem by Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Neruda’s poetry is known for its passion for love and the natural world. This poem is no different. Lines like, “Under the trees light / has dropped from the top of the sky, / light” present nature with a sense of hope and possibility. The lines are short, sometimes as short as one word. For example: “light” and “shining” are brief lines that emphasize the importance of these words. In general, the poem relies on vivid imagery such as “latticework of branches” and “shining on every leaf” to convey a sense of almost childlike optimism.

Tone and Imagery

The poem's use of vivid imagery to convey a sense of possibility illustrates the speaker’s attitude toward the subject of the poem. The speaker views the world as something new and exciting, and this reflects in his tone. The last line of the poem is particularly instructive. The speaker says, “The world is / a glass overflowing / with water.” The line plays with the representation of optimism as the glass being half full. The speaker views the world as an optimist; he sees a world that is full of hope, possibility and love. Thus, the tone of the poem is hopeful and optimistic.

Effect of the Tone

In his ode, Neruda uses vivid imagery and other figurative language, like similes and metaphors, to evoke feelings of excitement and enchantment in the reader. For example, Neruda writes, “A cicada sends / its sawing song / high into the empty air.” The speaker’s excitement and awe in the presence of the cicada’s soaring song is transferred onto the reader, evoking feelings of enchantment. These feelings in turn create the atmosphere or the mood of the poem. The atmosphere is one which is filled with passion for life and the natural world.

About the Author

Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.

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