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Tone and mood are often confusing terms. Tone is the author's attitude toward the work; we can used words like positive, negative, sarcastic, critical, and sympathetic, for example,to describe tone.
Mood, on the other hand, pertains to the emotional atmosphere in the work. Sad, happy, melancholy, and delighted are words that can describe mood.
The exact setting for this Thomas poem is unknown except that the speaker is at the bedside of his father who is dying. The tone (often referred to as voice in a poem) is urgent; he wants his father to fight against death, to "rage against the dying of the light." As he sits next to his dying father whom he loves, his mood is a mixture of despair ("What if he should actually die now?" he may ask himself) and anger ("How can this be happening to my father?" he may question.).
Setting" is one of the six elements of narrative (Style, Setting, Mood (same as Tone... mention that to your teacher), Plot, Characterization, Theme. The author’s Attitude is more correctly termed Theme; it defines the intent of the work.
It’s simplistic to say Setting must name a specific locale. Other factors of Setting are light and dark, cold or warmth, loudness or calm; all aspects of physical environment.
Identify the Theme yourself. What do you think Thomas is trying to say? What is his message?
As for Setting, nothing in the poem gives a hint where his father is physically.. a hospital? Not likely. He could be in a chair in front of a hearth fire. He could be conversing with Dylan on a veranda, absorbing the warmth of a sunny day.
Instead, Setting is brilliantly utilized by Thomas to bring us into his Theme. Thomas makes us visualize dark and light: Wise men know dark is right... Good men see how bright their deeds... Wild men catch the sun in flight... Grave men near death (rather a stretched pun) with blind eyes blazing like meteors .
And, ultimately his father on the sad height subtly fuses the rhyme scheme into the setting of dark and light.
The Setting enhances the other elements: Mood; Style (the technique of using words; here it’s scansion, rhyme scheme, and cadence); Characterization (both Dylan and father are vividly present, communicating); Plot (the rich action and suspense); all together leave us in no doubt of Theme.
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