Charles Simic

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What is the tone of Charles Simic's "A Reunion with Boredom"?

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The tone of "A Reunion with Boredom" by Charles Simic is thoughtful and thankful. He pensively considered the meaning of boredom, and comes to the conclusion that boredom can be a positive catalyst for change.

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Charles Simic writes an essay explaining today's obsession with technology. He describes days in solitude and darkness during Hurricane Irene and says that with all of the technology available to us today, it is impossible to be bored the way he was then.

Although this piece could have many tones, I think that he is primarily pensive and ultimately grateful.

This essay is above all a reflection. He is thinking through boredom and what it has meant to him. You can tell this by the meandering quality of the essay. He talks about technology, then about his time with no electricity, and ends with a reflection on his apartment in the Lower East Side, which was loud and chaotic and in which it was impossible to be bored.

For Charles Simic, the hurricane was a reminder of what boredom looks like. This might seem like a bad thing. After all, isn't boredom negative However, for Simic, the tone is grateful instead of angry or frustrated. He writes:

It brought about a sudden and unmistakable realization that we are only puppets jerked this way and that way by whatever device we think we are operating. With its strings loosened for the time being, there was nothing for us to do but slump idly in some chair with our heads dangling and our smiles fixed crooked

For him, the hurricane was a forced excuse to stop and think. He realized that his lack of boredom in normal life was not always positive. Being "busy" and "entertained" can actually mean being unfulfilling and meaningless.

The days without electricity or technology of any kind were an excuse to rest and consider ways to rely less on technology, whether that be by reading more or by engaging with those around you.

Because of this, he is grateful for the experience that boredom brought and grateful for the opportunity to think about the technology we use to beat boredom and possibly disengage from it for a time.

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