What is the tone of this poem, "The Sound of Night" by Maxine Kumin?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tone is how an author, when examining tone in writing, regards a subject. In regards to Maxine Kumin's poem "The Sound of Night," the tone of the poem depicts one of fear.

Essentially, the speaker of the poem is detailing the "things which go bump in the night." The speaker is very aware of the terrifying surroundings and sounds, given the word choice. The choice of words, such as "dark," "chitter," "hugguermugger," and "vesper," allude to the fear one can experience when surrounded by lurking shadows and unknown sounds.

The poem's tone of fear is compounded through the poet's choice of using nonsensical words and dark imagery (given people tend to fear the unknown and night masks and compounds the unknowns).

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