The tone of the poem “The Bells” can best be described as _____.

A)growing increasingly more cynical as the poem progresses
B)consistently hopeful and optimistic
C)formal and unemotional
D)moving from a stark criticism of humanity to a hopeful end

2 Answer

  • Answer:

    Letter A is the correct answer.


    The Bells is a poem written by American author Edgar Allan Poe. There, the speaker experiments with onomatopoeic forms by repeating the same word (the rhetorical device could be classified as alliteration.)

    Even the words chosen and the ambience they create at the beginning of the poem, the speaker changes the tone (by using different semantic fields, each of them more cynical than the previous one) in a progressive way, making correct letter A.

  • The tone of the poem ‘The Bells’ can best be described as A. growing increasingly more cynical as the poem progresses.

    Further Explanation:

    The literary device that sets the mood of the poem is a form of alliteration, in which the poet uses one-word several times for the sake of poetic and literary emphasis. Edgar Allan Poe uses the same words in a different manner as the poem progresses, albeit in a different tone, that transforms the mood of the poem to a cynical mood, by employing the words in different semantic fields. The poem was published posthumously and has received much critical acclaim. The poem is divided into four parts or movements, which closely mirrors each passing phase of a human’s life, and that is longer than the previous phase. The poem is also written in a similar fashion. The symbol used in alliteration is the ‘metal bell’ whose ringing in different phases of our human lives signifies different things. Through his poems, Poe takes us on a journey of human life and shows how all material joys fade away with the ringing of the final bell- the pall of death.  

    Poe utilizes some very interesting literary devices, such as onomatopoeia and alliteration. Onomatopoeia is the utilizing of sound effects for giving the reader a visual image of the sound related to a particular word. The rhythm of the bell has been used systematically within the poem, and the reader can distinguish the sound of the bell that synchronizes with every passing stage of the lives of the humans. The stanzas also have hierarchical importance and have been a symbolic representation of life. The first and the second stanzas have a generous utilization of alliteration, repetition, rhyme and repetition, and denotes the happy phase of youth and the wedding phase, denoted by the happy tinkle of the bell of youth and the musical wedding bells. However, these happy tone fades with the third stanza, where the ominous mood of the poem begins to set in, as the urgency is signified by the clanging, jangling and wrangling, which finally ends with the solemn tones of funeral bells, i.e. the final moments during death.

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    Answer Details:

    Grade: High School

    Chapter: The bells- Edgar Allan Poe

    Subject: English


    Onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhythm, rhyme, bells, phases of life, ominous tone, cynical mood.