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What is the tone of "The Sea" by James Reeves?

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Each of the three stanzas in James Reeves' poem The Sea has its own tone. The first stanza introduces the sea as a "hungry dog." The tone in this part of the poem expresses danger and risk. The repetition of the word "bones" adds further to the ominous tone. This tone is even more dreadful in the second stanza in which the dog metaphor is taken even further. Now the reader is meant to feel the anxiety of being on a raging ocean at night as the sea is compared to a howling dog flinging water every which way.

In the final stanza, the tone changes drastically. The sea is still being compared to a dog, but now that dog is at rest. The tone is one of relief at having survived the thrashing sea of the previous night. The situation has calmed as is signified by the final line of the poem with its repetition of the phrase, "so quiet, so quiet . . . ."

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The tone of “The Sea” by James Reeves takes the reader through a number of moods associated with the changing sea. The poem begins during the day with an ominous tone as the poet creates the mood with a metaphor that compares the raging sea to a hungry dog “with his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws.” The tone of the poem expresses the ferocity of the sea as it repeatedly dashes the shore in the way that a hungry dog would pounce upon its food, never quite satisfied. In the second stanza as the night moves in, the tone remains ominous describing the dog as howling repeatedly. In the final stanza, the tone becomes more peaceful and serene as the dog quiets and the sea subsides on a late spring day. Reeves describes the dog as resting quietly, peacefully on the beach. Therefore, the tone of the poem is created by the metaphoric actions of the dog.

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