Get help from the best in academic writing.

Use of Tone, Irony and Humor in The Hammon and the Beans

Use of Tone, Irony and Humor in The Hammon and the Beans

Ernest Hemingway once explained, “A writer’s problem does not change. He himself changes and the world he lives in changes but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.” The attitude and “projection” with which the author creates a story is the tone. A difficult aspect of writing to master, tone is one that transitions a piece of writing from satisfactory to exemplary. In The Hammon and the Beans, Americo Paredes incorporates tone in a manner that allows the reader to understand the two-sided situation because the characters are living happy yet troublesome lives. Through including contradictory statements, irony, and comedy in the story, Paredes displays his ability to utilize tone in order to construct a complex work with pure grace.

Opposition is an important undertone present in The Hammon and the Beans. Throughout the entire story, Paredes integrates contradictory statements which are used for two purposes. The first usage of these argumentative ideas is to clearly depict the setting of the story for the reader. In the first paragraph, the grandfather’s house is described as, “… a big frame house painted a dirty yellow,” that was in, “… a quiet neighborhood at least, too far from the center of town for automobiles and too near for musical, night-roaming drunks (p. 274).” In these two descriptions of the setting, there are contradictions because a big house is usually positive, while dirtiness is negative (although yellow itself is not normall…

… middle of paper …

…hich contributes to his overall impression of the story. In adding a comical tone to the story, the author gives the reader the ability to relate to, and better understand, the situation in which the characters are involved, because it is pure human nature to laugh.

Tone is an advanced element of writing, that when effectively incorporated into a work, can make it exceptional, and one certainly worth reading. The Hammon and the Beans is an example of a story in which tone is used extraordinarily well by including opposition among statements and characters, thought-provoking irony, and sensitive humor. Paredes entices the reader to share the emotions of the characters by projecting them in a subtle manner. As a result of becoming involved, the reader can more completely comprehend the lives of the characters, from their difficult times to those of pure joy.

Symbolism and Allusion in Maya Angelou’s My Arkansas

Symbolism and Allusion in Maya Angelou’s “My Arkansas”

“There is a deep brooding/ in Arkansas.” Arkansas is stuck in the past, its memories of hatred and crime from ante-bellum days hindering the progression towards Civil Rights. Maya Angelou’s poem of the struggle to a new wave of equality uses both general symbolism and historical allusion to make its theme clear to the reader. The poem uses general symbolism in nature, in time, and historical allusion to make the theme clear in a concise but vibrant poem.

The general symbolism relating to nature assumes a common base of knowledge from which symbolism can be built. The poem opens with a description of Arkansas: “Old crimes like moss pend/ from poplar trees./ The sullen earth/ is much too/ red for comfort.” The first example of general symbolism in this passage is the reference to moss. Moss is considered the base of the forest, the lowest level from which all of the other plants grow. Although moss is vital to a forest, it is often thought of as slimy and dirty. The moss “pend(s) from poplar trees,” our second natural symbol. The poplar tree is weak and useless. Nothing can be built from its wood, and it often bends and breaks during storms. The visual image of the moss clinging to the poplar tree shows the slimy moss as “old crimes” and the poplar tree as the frail attempt at growth and a new but weak beginning. The reader gets a clear sense of the struggle toward a new life that is hindered and held back by the old, dependable moss that has been and always will be present. The second part of the passage discusses the “sullen earth” that is “much too red.” Red earth can be symbolic in two …

… middle of paper …

…e. Finally at the end of the poem the historical allusion brings the poem to a complete closure, and the theme of starting fresh is put into a more specific context. The “old hates” and “old crimes” are referring to those against African-Americans in the days of slavery. the new beginning for Arkansas is the attempt to reach equality, leaving the past behind.

“Today is yet to come in Arkansas.” Reading Angelou’s poem shows the reader a new perspective on civil rights and its applicability in society. The use of general symbolism found in nature through the weak poplar tree hindered by moss and the cautious sun, paired with the historical allusion to the ante-bellum times make the theme of the poem clear. The past cannot be forgotten, and may hinder the future. Arkansas’ struggle toward the future “writhes in awful/ waves of brooding” of the past.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.