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What is the tone in "Fireflies in the Garden" by Robert Frost?

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree that the tone is playful but paradoxically so. The lights the fireflies and the stars emit are symbolic of their life span and/or their vibrancy. One on hand, by comparison, the fireflies do not live very long at all. They can only attempt to simulate the relative immortality of the stars. They cannot sustain it: they die. This is a melancholy tone on how fleeting life is. On the other hand, the playful tone seems to celebrate the stars’ audacity at attempting to imitate stars. So, the poem is both melancholy and optimistic. This characteristic...

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