How does Bart Edelman use diction and tone in the poem "Chemistry Experiment"?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The language used in "Chemistry Experiment" is very straight-forward and factual, as would be the expectation for any scientifically-valid activity. There is no emotional influence during the description of the preparations and the actual experiment itself. The phrases are short and direct. "Read through the textbook twice, Wore lab coats and safety goggles, Mixed the perfect chemical combinations In the proper amount and order."

Even after the explosion occurs, the vocabulary of the poem remains rather stark. "the flash of light, The loud, perplexing explosion, The black rope of smoke" tells what happened but doesn't add any extra details.

In describing the aftermath, Edelman states that the individuals involved in creating the explosion "slowly retreated from each other" but doesn't deeply explore the thoughts and emotions experienced as they separately dealt with the potential, but unrealized, ramifications of what they had done. The narrator of the poem recognizes the traumatic impact of the event upon his life and the continuing reaction when he thinks of it, but does so without undue subjective emotion.