Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tone Analysis in "Miss Brill"

I was rather interested in Dr. Burton's suggestion of how to find what gives us the tone in a certain passage as discussed in the last lecture.  He underlined whatever words he felt contributed, so I decided to take a stab at it as well as tone is quite fascinating and complicated.  Is it the diction, punctuation, or some other mystical, perhaps supernatural element that cannot be understood by the human brain? I'm going to go with something along the lines of the first half of that last sentence, i.e. having to do with literary elements. 

I decided to chose the first paragraph of "Miss Brill" to analyze for tone and its hints.  After reading it the first time, I came out with a tone that felt melancholy, a little naive, and bright, but seeing that Miss Brill is a woman of the/stuck in the past but content in her own world.  Here are the key words and phrases that I pulled out:  "brilliantly fine," "blue sky powdered with gold", "Dear little thing!", "rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes," "Never mind," "!", and finally, "And when she breathed, something light and sad-no, not sad, exactly-something gentle seemed to move in her bosom." 

I feel that each of the listed phrases hold their place and give the tone its life.  Especially the exclamation marks where with one character.  I really love the last sentence mentioned, which also happens to be the last sentence of the intro paragraph.  The back and forth and in-between deciding (even if its just about an emotion) hints at the unsurety of the character and even further, life. 


3 comments:

  1. The phrases you chose that you pulled out of "Miss Brill" certainly do set the tone for this story, about a sweet little lady who tries to keep a positive outlook, even though she is very lonely. Great analysis about how unsure she is about herself and about life.

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  2. It was sad to me how the story seemed to start with one tone (light, happy) and end with another (beaten down and depressed). She seemed happy with her life until she heard the comments about herself. Then her whole attitude changed and she didn't even do the usual things she liked to do. It is sad how one person's comments can affect us so!

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