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Tone In Literature

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James Tilton

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Tone In Literature

Tone in Literature Tone in Everyday Life Tone Examples from Everyday Life Indicators of Tone Clues to Understanding Tone Have you ever had someone tell you, "It's not what you said that hurt me; it's how you said it!"? That person was describing your tone.
Tone has very little to do with the words and everything to do with the attitude and emotions behind the words.
In life, this attitude is revealed by body language, word choice, situational context. All of these have a HUGE impact on tone. "Dude" as the universal reaction (proud, excited, angry, shocked, sad, lighthearted)
"Screw you" might mean something different if it is said by a friend after beating him at Halo than it is said by your girlfriend after a big fight.
"I'm fine" doesn't always mean "I'm fine."
Notice how we can create different meanings by emphasizing different words in the sentence, "I didn't say she stole my money." Look at the way other characters respond to what was just said.
Look for clues regarding other parts of the body, especially the eyes, hands, or mouth.
Pay attention to whatever word the author uses to describe the character's speech. For example, words like "shouted," "mumbled," "whispered," "barked," and "whimpered" all imply different tones.
Look at the character as a whole. Does what they just said fit with their beliefs in other parts of the book? This is especially important for sarcastic or humorous tones.
Look for descriptive adjectives. An author trying to convey a mysterious tone might use lots of adjectives like "dark," "spooky," and "creepy." I
money. didn't say she stole my money.
I say she stole my money.
I didn't she stole my money.
I didn't say stole my money.
I didn't say she my money.
I didn't say she stole money.
I didn't say she stole my If someone was angry, what might be some of the giveaways?
If someone was excited, what might be some of the giveaways?
Just like in real life, we must pay attention to the details if we are to discover an author, narrator, or character's tone. Just as interpreting tone is important if we are to understand the people around us, so interpreting tone is important if we are to understand a novel or the characters therein. Guidelines for Finding Tone Remember, there is never only one right answer. For this reason, it is best to check your options (in a multiple choice test) before reading the passage.
Be sure to pay attention to whose tone you are asked to analyze. Is it the narrator, a character, the author? Even in one passage, two characters often have different tones, e.g. one may be stubborn, the other may be angry. Be sure to know which character's tone you are asked to analyze.
Be aware of synonyms. You may think the tone is happy, but that may not be an option in the multiple choice question. "Jubilant," however, means the same thing. This simply demonstrates that we must pay attention not only to the words that are being said, but also to the attitude or tone in which they are said. Tone In Literature Tone is the way an author, character, or narrator feels toward an object or situation. Tone is the emotion behind the words.
It is different from mood, which focuses more on how the reader is supposed to feel while reading the book. Mood is the emotion caused by the words.
Just like in life, the characters have innumerable variations of tone.
Just like in life, we discover these tones by paying attention to more than just the words. 1. Look at the way characters
respond to what was said. "Now, I mean it Scout, you antagonize Aunty and I'll--I'll spank you."
With that, I was gone. "You damn morphodite! I'll kill you!" He was sitting on the bed, and it was easy to grab his front hair and land one on his mouth. 2) Look for clues from parts of the body, especially hands, eyes, and mouth His eyes were starting to water, but the other boys could not tell because he never lifted them from the ground. Without looking up, he kicked the dirt beneath him and shoved his hands farther in his pockets. He swallowed real hard before speaking again. "Please let me get by," he said, but no one responded. 3) Pay attention to the words used instead of "said" 4) Look at the character as a whole "Of course, he raped her. He's guilty!" cried Atticus. "He's black, so he's guilty. Every black man is guilty. They're born that way, and there's nothing anyone can do about it." 5) Look for descriptive words Already the thin, white wisps of fog were curling around the trees. The wall of the orchard was disappearing, a phantom, a ghost, invisible beneath the swirling gray vapor. Surrounded by the thickening mist, we hid in what had once been shadows and now had become simply another part of the gloomy darkness. Before seeing Scout's reaction, the reader might
have thought that Jem's tone was one of playfulness,
but the fact that she responded in anger shows that his tone was really one of serious superiority. Just by the character's words, we might have thought that this was just a simple request. But, by looking at clues from the character's body, we realize that this request is really spoken in a tone of fear or desperation. "Apologize to your Aunt," commanded Atticus.
"But I didn't ask her. I asked you!" I shouted back.
"Doesn't matter. Apologize to your aunt!"
"I'm sorry," I muttered. In this passage, "commanded" conveys a firm tone, "shouted" conveys an angry tone, and "muttered" conveys an insincere tone. Does the above passage fit with Atticus' character? What kind of tone might he use to say something like this? What words in the passage above suggest that the
first person narrator feels uncomfortably gloomy or increasingly scared?
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