The tone and mood of the setting in "The Portable Phonograph"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of the story, the author describes a setting which is bleak, dark, derelict and war-torn. This immediately creates a sombre tone, and perhaps a foreboding mood.

The very first image in the story is of "The red sunset, with narrow, black cloud strips like threats across it." A sunset in literature often foreshadows a figurative as well as a literal darkness to come. The "red" in this instance also perhaps connotes blood. The "black cloud strips" also foreshadow this aforementioned darkness. Dark clouds in a more literal sense foreshadow rain or perhaps a storm. The simile comparing these clouds to "threats" also adds an impression of menace to the scene. When the weather reflects the mood in this way, or foreshadows what's to come, this is a technique called pathetic fallacy.

Subsequently, the impression of darkness in the opening line is compounded by images such as...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 457 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team