Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter

What is the author's style in Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter by Robert Bly?

Asked by
Last updated by Jill D
1 Answers
Log in to answer


Tone refers to the attitude of the speaker towards his subject. In "Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter," Bly evokes feelings of contentment through his description of a deserted city street scene, the simple action of mailing a letter, the "privacy" of his solitude, and the desire to prolong the experience, expressed in the line, "Driving around, I will waste more time."


At its simplest level, an image is a mental picture created in a reader's mind by the writer's words. Images, however, can also relate to senses other than vision. Bly uses visual imagery for describing the setting of the town and tactile imagery in describing the action of mailing the letter, when the speaker feels the "cold iron" of the mailbox door. The concluding image, of the speaker "driving around," is a kind of "leaping image" for which Bly's writing has become known. Leaping images, according to Bly, are meant to evoke a reality beyond that which we see. These images "leap" back and forth between the conscious and the unconscious mind and often evoke feelings or thoughts surprising to even the writer himself.


The last line of the poem contains an example of verbal irony. A statement can be verbally ironic when it implies a meaning sharply different from what it expresses. In this case, Bly is winking at readers when he states, "I will waste more time," as the obvious joy he experiences belies the idea that time is being wasted.


Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter, BookRags