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Describe the tone of The Wanderer.

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ahmadstiller | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:27 AM via web

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Describe the tone of The Wanderer.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 6, 2011 at 5:47 AM (Answer #1)

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The tone of the poem "The Wanderer" is typical of the elegiac poems from the Anglo-Saxon literary period. The elegiac poem was written as a remembrance where a happy past strongly contradicts unhappy present. The poems of this type typically speak to the position one is in (one of desolation and solitude) and their remembrance of a happier time.

The poem "The Wanderer" is no different. The speaker's tone is one in which the reader can feel the sadness of the speaker's voice. This being said, the tone of the poem changes throughout the movement (the speaker's recollections).

In the beginning, the speaker's tone is that of lament (a passion-filled expression of grief). The speaker tells the reader that he is alone, with no one to converse with. The speaker no longer has any ties to his homeland or his past friends. His life has moved in such a way that he has been left solitude.

The speaker admits that to come to a specific realization that true sorrow must be felt, and felt for a long time. Only after sorrow if felt can one move on with the remainder of their life.

Here is where the tone of the poem changes.

When he with wise mind this wall-stone
and this dark life deeply thinks through,
the wise one in mind oft remembers afar
many a carnage, and this word he speaks:

The wanderer realizes that he must find faith in something greater than his own worries. The wanderer then comes to a new realization:

Good, he who keeps faith, nor too quickly his grief
from his breast makes known, except he, noble, knows how beforehand
to do cure with courage. Well will it be
to him who seeks favor, refuge and comfort,
from the Father in heaven, where all fastness stands.

It is only through the "Father in heaven" that one can find comfort. With this knowledge, the tone of the poem changes. The poem has moved from a tone of sorrow to that of hope in ones faith.

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