Tone Analysis of “We Are Still Only Human”
We Are Still and Always Will Be “We Are Still Only Human” by Verlyn Klinkenborg is an analysis of expectations and human nature in which there is too much of a positive outlook for the future of society. Klinkenborg uses a serious tone that makes his essay fit for a speech.
He also uses many techniques to show tone including diction, imagery, details, language, and sentence structure. “The politeness that afflicts me is not civility, which is an urbane quality compatible even with cynicism”(ll. 5-7). Klinkenborg’s choice of vocabulary is what separates his essay from others.He chooses powerful words like cynicism and afflict instead of common words that are used daily so that the message portrayed is more dominating.
“Not consoling enough? Then try this. ” (ll. 131-132). The constant use of questions by Klinkenborg helps erect a base that he uses to urge on a desire to take his words to heart and make his tone that much more powerful. “The men and women who speak so unrelentingly of ‘our children’s children.
‘ Who are the children whose children are going to usher in the future? Are they the 30 percent of American children now living in poverty?What kind of future are they imagining? “(ll. 76-83). The occasional use of questions makes the reader more engaged so that Klinkenborg’s distinctive tone stands out further and the image of politicians being ignorant about the current state of their generation is illustrated easily in the mind. Klinkenborg’s ability to be able to let the reader render images from his words seems to be his strong point. For example, “I have learned to depend on my politeness and to hate it, because it so often feels like a hand clutching my windpipe”( ll.
3-5).The imagery expressed by Klinkenborg is very potent since he makes the few-and-far-in-between imagery uses easy to establish yet finish with a strong effect. The way he uses clutching instead of grabbing or holding gives a villainous connotation to the image. Clutching is a word that conveys someone grasping onto something so that it doesn’t dare escape. This imagery given by Klinkenborg emits a sense of restriction that can almost be felt by the reader because of his attention to simplistic detail. Klinkenborg’s simplistic detail really shines in lines eleven to fourteen, “The untainted progress of decent men and omen tilling a ripe but virgin soil, building stainless, heroic cities”(ll.
11-14). The amount of details Klinkenborg gives is very miniscule since most of this essay is very much opinionated. Even so, the little detail that is available is more than enough to satisfy. Within two words, stainless and heroic, Klinkenborg has allowed the reader to envision a utopia of sorts with skyscrapers in every square mile soaring above the streets. “All of human history has been an offense, of one kind or another, against humanity ..
. What’s shocking about this century isn’t the evil or the unusual efficiency of its most malevolent actors.It is the collaboration in the indifference”(ll. 21-24). Klinkenborg’s style of writing, language, and how he speaks his mind is very direct and inspiring; it’s clear and easy to understand the idea that he tries to express.
The Ideas that he tries to make are very clear in lines 132 to 139, “There is no mechanism that will somehow redeem or reform this species within the course of its secular history… But there is an opening, a life, allowed to each one of us”(ll. 132-139). This is also an example of the sentence structure that is used by Klinkenborg.
He likes to present an idea and then refute it by using the common “but”. However, he uses this technique in a way that it supports the bigger picture, which in this case, is that the course of human society is unpredictable. The techniques Klinkenborg uses in his passage to show his tone, diction, imagery, details, language, sentence structure, reveal that he’s very enthusiastic and passionate about what he’s writing about. This need to persuade is truly the foundation of the tone established throughout the work of Verlyn Klinkenborg, not his words, his words just simply express it.