Sara Teasdale was an American poet in the early 20th century. Her major themes of poetry were love, nature’s beauty and death. During Teasdale’s life, she did not have a happy marriage and always suffered from poor health. Thus, she expressed her passion in her poetry. This paper will compare and contrast how Teasdale uses image and tone to emphasize the meaning of her poems “The Tree” and “Love and Death”. Whereas both “The Tree” and “Love and Death” utilizes image to depict the speaker’s desire, the tone of speaker in the poem convey its meaning differently.
In both poems, the poet use figurative image. In "The Tree" the poet writes, "To have my heart as hare as a tree in December."(3) By comparing a heart to a bare tree, Teasdale allows the readers to understand that all leaves are gone during the winter time and the tree becomes empty, just as the speaker's heart wants to be free and doesn't want carry anything. In "Love ...view middle of the document...
” Teasdale uses color “black tracery” and “white page” to assure you can only see the branching lines hanging in the sky, just as you draw some black lines on a white sheet of paper. There is nothing to see if there is no leaf on the tree. By contrasting with the poem “Love and Death,” Teasdale uses different literal image. In line 11 of “Love and Death,” it says, “The desolation of extinguished suns, Nor fear the void wherethro’ our planet runs, For still together” The poet uses sun and planet to emphasize that throughout the century, if sun burnt out and disaster comes, they will still love each other and nothing can separate them.
The speaker in both poems has different attitude. For instance, “The Tree” has a tired and lonely tone. The poem states, “Waiting no more for a rain at night /Nor for the red at dawn.”(7) It probably means that a tree needs sun and water to growth, but the tree is tired of waiting. It wants to be alone and not care for anything. “Oh to be free of myself/ With nothing left to remember.”(1) The speaker wants to forget and freedom. Forgetting can make her feel less pain. Differ from “The Tree,” “Love and Death” has a loving, romantic and dreamy tone. The poet writes, “Soul of my soul, Nor yet alone, beloved.”(9) The speaker wants to remember his words and their love. “For still together shall we go and not/ Fare forth alone to front eternity.”(13) This used to reflect no matter what happens, they will still together and love each other forever. Their love can’t die. Even their bodies die; their souls will meet and remember each other.
In conclusion, Teasdale uses figurative image in both poems to express subject which are tree, soul and sand might not remember things, but she uses literal image to distinguish the characteristic of a tree and the sky, also the sun and planet. Both poems have very different tone. The speaker in “The Tree” wants to forget and the speaker in “Love and Death” wants to remember. The woman’s emotional love about forget and remember allow the readers to feel the speaker is longing for something. Overall, the speaker in “The Tree” wants to be free and forgetting. The speaker in “Love and Death” wants to remember and have eternal love.