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Louis Simpson Writing Styles in In the Suburbs

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Analogy

"In the Suburbs" is one short analogy, comparing middle-class life to a form of unconscious devotion. Analogies are similar to similes (they both may use "as" or "like") but often extend the terms of comparison. They also frequently attempt to explain the abstract in terms of the concrete. In this case, the middle-class is the abstraction, and people walking to the temple singing is the concrete term.

Tone

The tone of the poem is both accusatory and despairing. The speaker establishes the accusatory tone through the use of the second person "you," and he establishes the despairing tone through his insistence that nothing can be changed and that belonging to the middle class is only the most recent form of self-imprisonment. Underlying the tone is the image of the last stanza, an image Simpson critic Ronald Moran would argue belongs to the "emotive imagination." According to Moran, such...

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This section contains 164 words
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Poetry for Students
In the Suburbs from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.