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In the poem “After Auschwitz” by Anne Sexton, the speaker talks about her sensations after touring a concentration camp. The speaker composes about what people are able to do to other human beings and how awful this specific time was. The speakers tone is primarily angry. During the poem, the speaker’s tone ends up being increasingly more mad and dark but at the end of the poem in the last 2 lines it likewise turns into a sad tone. These tones are developed to validate the bad things that took place in the prisoner-of-war camp Auschwitz.
Sexton’s usage of sentence structure, images and detail are essential to develop this angry, dark and unfortunate tone through the poem.
The strongest tone that appears through the poem is an angry tone. One strategy Sexton utilizes to convey this tone is syntax. The sentences in this poem are mostly quite short. The poem already starts with the keyword in line 1: “Anger,” From the very start of the poem, Anne Sexton is mad.
Another examples in line 4 + 5: “Each day,” “each Nazi” This is a terrific example how Sexton utilizes very brief and tough sentences. It sounds just like the speaker spits them out as they would be something gross which tastes bad. It communicates the anger of the speaker and hence the angry tone about how the awful treatment of human beings goes on every day, again and again.
Another strategy the author uses to convey the tone is images. Utilizing that images the author makes the reader feel mad and likewise the reader can feel how the speaker’s anger is getting bigger and larger until it reaches its pinnacle in lines 26 – 29.
As the author writes in line 26: “Let male never ever once again raise his teacup.”, she is so loaded with anger, so mad of all humans that it is practically a bit scary although the tone is stemmed from something so innocent. She pictures this man sitting on a table or in a chair and consuming a tea and while she pictures that she gets so angry because she can’t believe that a male is sitting there, consuming a tea, not doing anything while someplace else human beings are tortured and die in concentration camps. The speaker idea of all the things in concentration camps through the poem and now she is simply so mad that she wants to see the entire human race wiped out.
Because of all the anger in it this image is so significant and it totally conveys the tone in the poem. Line 19 + 20: “And death looks on with a casual eye, and scratches his anus.” is another really good example of imagery. The speaker imagines the death as a person. She imagines the death being somewhere in the concentration camp, simply standing there bored by the same things that happen every day, scratching his ass and waiting for the next person who dies. The speakers tone in these lines, as well as in lines 9 + 10, is still a little bit angry but it turned into a sad ton too. She feels sad about how people suffer so much pain and torture and everything and how they slowly die. I think this image is significant because it is such a good image that the poem literarily comes alive and you can see the concentration camp with its prisoners as you would stand in it.
Detail is the third technique Anne Sexton uses to convey the tone. In the last two lines the tone changes suddenly from the dark and angry tone into a sad tone: “I beg the lord not to hear.”(line 33). This line is very important to understand the poem. Suddenly the speaker notices that she was thinking to do the same things to all humans as Nazis did to the prisoners in concentration camps. So she feels almost embarrassed and begs the lord not to hear her words. But, wouldn’t everybody else who reads this poem feel the same anger? Certainly this detail is key in expressing the speaker’s feelings on this topic and that’s why the detail is significant.
The tone’s effect is that it reminds readers about the terrible treatment of humans in the concentration camp Auschwitz. Readers are moved by it because everybody knows the Nazi time but nobody really wants to remember it. Exactly that is where Sexton created her poem on. She’s one of the small number of poets who wrote a poem on that time.
So when people hear, read or see about it they feel angry and sad just like Sexton!The universal idea of this poem is how humans could have ever done such horrible things or how they let could have let them happen. Anne Sexton writes in her poem how people today get away with it. The Holocaust is a vehicle for this poem. It is about anger, although it might sometimes not be justified, and sadness and how, while they are necessary emotion for survival, in the most loathsome and horrific of situations, it must not be the sole rule of one’s life.
Poem: “After Auschwitz”www.wikipedia.comwww.americaspoets.com
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