A relationship is about to end. The speaker looks back to a particular day when all seemed neutral, pale and lacking hope.
Total Shares Background Thomas Hardy is best known as a novelist and this fame has long overshadowed his reputation as a poet. Written inthis poem was part of an anthology called Wessex Poems that was published in The Wessex Poems are marked by a lack of adornment; they are generally bleak like the countryside that forms the background to most of these poems.
The recurring theme in this anthology is disappointment in love and life; here in Neutral Tones it is the end of a relationship that was at one time full of love. In Neutral Neutral tones hardy, Hardy carefully examines a dying relationship that once a source of delight.
A state of melancholia is invoked in the reader by using the somber and cold environment as an objective correlative. Summary At the heart of Neutral tones hardy poem lies a failed relationship.
The environment mirrors this death like situation. The sun lacks its characteristic golden warm and the ground is frosty and starving. The only colors that the poet describes are white and grey. The ash stands bare; its last grey leaves flutter down.
The man and the woman have very little to speak; what they do utter, hastens the death of their love. Analysis 1 Stanza The first line uses mostly monosyllabic words marking the lack of any movement.
The man and the woman are inert; they merely stand by the pond. It is cold yet they are out in the open. The second line sets forth this scene: Its looks as though it has been censured by God. The third line adds more to the description of the depressing scene.
The earth appears to be starving; it lacks life giving moisture and is frosty perhaps. A few leaves lie scattered on the hard soil.
The fourth line introduces an element of dark humor. The leaves are from an ash and so they are grey colored. They are also grey because they are dead leaves.
In the second line we know what it is. The woman does not look at the narrator with love or affection. The expression in them is one of boredom which would be aroused if one were to scan tedious riddles that have already been solved.
There is no life, no interest left in them. Some desultory conversation was exchanged by them but these too lacked vigor and life.
The fourth line says that the words that were exchanged served only to kill the little love that lingered between them. The smile is not a vibrant thing that transports the narrator to joy but it is dead.
It has no significance or meaning being dead. In words filled with irony, the narrator says that the smile had only enough life to make the effort to die!
The metaphor used has shades of an oxymoron as life is not generally associated with death. A smile is a gesture connected with happiness and joy but here it is death. The smile was transformed into a horrible bitter grin; it seemed to sweep over her face. The fourth line compares the grin to a flying bird that portends death and destruction, may be a raven or a vulture.
This line hints that the woman is evil and capable of bringing harm to the narrator.
Overall Impression The poem is suffused with despair but nowhere is the tone of neutral melancholy really broken.About “Neutral Tones” One of Hardy’s most famous early poems, written in and included in his first collection, ’s Wessex Poems and Other Verses.
This is a poem about disappointed love, and is probably auto-biographical; it is known that Hardy struggled with several challenging relationships during his . "Neutral Tones" is a poem written by Thomas Hardy in Forming part of his collection Wessex Poems and Other Verses, it is the most widely praised of his early poems.
 It is about the end of a relationship, and carries strong emotional appeal despite its "neutral tones". In Neutral Tones, Thomas Hardy looks back on a relationship’s death. The poem’s content, ideas, language and structure are explored. Comparisons and alternative interpretations are also considered.
Neutral Tones is ostensibly about the narrator’s feelings regarding a break up. In that respect it could be likened to James Fenton’s “ In Paris With You ” however this piece is very different in tone.
About “Neutral Tones” One of Hardy’s most famous early poems, written in and included in his first collection, ’s Wessex Poems and Other Verses. Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy We stood by a pond that winter day, And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, And a few leaves lay on the starving sod; They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.