The Sound of a Voice

by David Henry Hwang

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What is the tone of the play "The Sound of a Voice?"

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As in most works of literature, more than one tone is evident throughout the work.  Tones may shift depending on character or circumstances in the novel. 

"The Sound of a Voice" is no exception.  First of all, the play deals with the isolation of individuals in society - a common theme in literature.  Thus one tone would be of loneliness and longing.  Both characters live in isolated worlds, one in the country and one by continually traveling.  Next, both characters fear falling in love even though they desperately want love to ease their loneliness.  While they long for love, they fear it which creates the tone of vulnerability.  By wanting what they fear, they place themselves in a position of being hurt.

Finally, the play furthers a tone of hopelessness.  Even though the man and woman have fallen in love, the play ends without either of them living it.  The woman's fear prevents her from accepting what she believes are the man's flaws, and the man hesitates in telling the woman his true feelings.  Thus, the ending leaves the characters where they began without hope for the future.

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