What are the theme, tone, mood, and diction in "Letter From a Contract Worker"?

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The theme of the poem "Letter From a Contract Worker" is the expression of love, which the speaker achieves eloquently within the poem but cannot do in a letter since he cannot write and his beloved cannot read. The diction creates a tone of intense passion, and the mood is one of similarly passionate longing turning to despair.

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The theme of a poem is determined by its overall message. The speaker uses apostrophe to address a lover who isn't present, gushing over memories of her and longing to be with her again. However, in the end, it is revealed that he cannot deliver the letter which he desperately longs to write because she cannot read and he cannot write. Thus, one theme that emerges is human longing. Although he desperately longs to remind his love of their "nights in the long grass" and the "bitterness / of … separation," this is impossible because of their circumstances.

A literary tone is the author's attitude toward their subject. The speaker of this poem is passionate toward his love. He speaks of both her physical appeal, such as her "eyes sweet as honey" and "breasts as hard as wild orange" and of their bond, recalling the "intimate secrets" they share. The speaker passionately longs to find a way to reconnect with the woman from whom he is separated.

A poem's mood focuses on the way a work of literature is intended to make the reader feel, which can be different from the tone. Because of the tragic inability of the speaker to convey his feelings to his beloved, the reader is left feeling quite sympathetic in the end. This mood is intentional, creating within the reader a need to examine similar injustices in separation and circumstance in his own society.

Diction is the way the author crafts certain types of words to create a particular speaker or message. The speaker's language is natural and simple, focusing on a past of days spent in the "long grass" and under "plum trees." He keeps the language simple because their love is simple; he is captivated by this woman's beauty and even compares it to common objects in their natural world.

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The theme of this poem is the expression of love. The contract worker eloquently expresses his desire for his beloved and expresses the pain of separation. Only at the in the final stanza does he reveal that this letter, in which he wanted to tell her everything she means to him, will remain forever unwritten, since she cannot read and he cannot write. Until this point, the reader may have imagined a less practical inhibition, such as diffidence or unrequited love, but the concluding stanza adds a new dimension to the theme rather than altering it.

The tone and diction of the poem are intensely passionate. The diction creates the tone, with striking similes which compare the addressee to the intense redness of henna and blackness of mud, as well as to oranges and honey. Wild beasts and plants later in the poem create the same elemental vividness. The speaker uses strong, emotive language, referring to

the madness
of our passion
and the bitterness
of our separation...

He talks of "sharp suffering" and "burning words," emphasizing the strength of his feelings by describing the sensations they cause. The mood of the poem is always passionate, but the joy in the passion quickly gives way to unfulfilled longing and then, by the end of the poem, to frustration and despair.

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In his poem “Letter From a Contract Writer,” Antonio Jacinto assumes the persona of a lovesick laborer who is working far away from home—and the woman he adores.

Diction is defined as word choice. The connotations of the words in all but the last stanza of the poem are romantic or sexual. The speaker uses words like “desire,” “yearning,” “intimate,” “caresses,” “passion,” and “hot.” All of these suggest the speaker’s lust for his lover.

The diction of the poem establishes an admiring, passionate tone as the speaker compares his lover’s features to various things he finds beautiful.

Mood, which is how the author intends readers to feel, is created through tone. Readers are supposed to be swept up in the speaker’s passion, wishing he could be reunited with the woman he figuratively worships. One could say the mood is wistful.

To determine the theme, or underlying message, it is important to note the changes in tone and mood that come in the last stanza. The speaker repeats the word “why” to express his frustration at not being able to write the letter he has heretofore described. He uses exclamation points and dashes to indicate an agitated feeling. When the speaker reveals that he can’t write and his lover can’t read, the reader feels the speaker’s agony over his unexpressed emotions.

Theme in this poem could relate to either language or education. Since the title of the poem emphasizes the speaker’s impoverished working-class identity, I will focus on the education theme. Jacinto comments on how limited access to education prevents people from expressing themselves to the world. The speaker’s inability to write down everything he feels is the fault of a lacking education. Yet, the speaker is clearly a creative, intelligent individual who has something to offer the world. This shows that limiting one’s education limits one’s ability to be who one truly is.

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