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What the Living Do

Loosing Someone Can be Devastating as shown in Marie Howe’s “What the Living Do’’ While reading the story “ What the living do” one could equate the poem to something that has taken place in their own life. Through out life everyone has or will have a time when they lose someone near and dear to their heart. People choose to deal with this in different ways. Many chose to express their feelings for this tragedy in writing. As illustrated in “What the living do”, Marie Howe uses tone, irony, and diction to express the loss of her brother and how she chooses to cope with it.

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The tone in which someone tells a story can give you indication whether the story will be sad, upbeat , or neutral. “Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there”(Line 1) suggest that the tone of this story starts of negative and sad. The author is starting to explain what seems to be something very common, when discussing the clogged sink. It is the manner in which she says it, which leads us to believe “Johnny” has either passed awayor in the last days of his life.

Tone can really depict how the flow of a story will go. We can derive from what someone says and what some really means by our sense of irony. Howe speaks of “Waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called” (Line 3) which seems to mean that she is still waiting for her brother to walk through the door and fix the clogged sink. The irony in this situation is that truly she knows that her brother will never walk through the door again and that’s something she is dealing with. So her way of expression was a poem written almost like a letter to her brother.

In the poem or letter she basically is telling her brother of all the thing he would usually do if he were there. So she is saying one thing but means another. The language a poem is written in is referred to as diction. Every poem or writing has a certain style. That style in some instances can be complex or elementary. “What the living Do” would be considered very easy to read and very informal. While reading this poem you will not find your self nose deep in your dictionary trying to decipher each word. The sunlight light pours through the open living room windows because the heat’s on too high in here” (Line 5) is a very easy read and even the most lower level scholar would understand. There are other works of art that chose to use different more complex language that require a little more thought process. Howe easily expresses the love she had for her brother and how she wishes he was there with her. When writing a poem you will find that there are several styles that authors chose to use. Whether the poem be short, medium, or long there is usually a point the poet is trying to convey.

It can be the feelings for a lost loved one or the love for a girlfriend you let get away. The poem “What the living Do” serves its purpose. While doing so, you can see Howe’s tone, the irony she uses in her speech, and the style of language she uses for her audience. One would presume that her brother and her were very close and that one day they will meet again. Worked Citied Howe, Marie. “What the living Do. ” Literature: Craft &Voice. Eds. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. 67. Print.

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