Definition: Tone is the verbal stance the author assumes toward the reader and his subject as reflected in his “voice.” It is the quality of language and voice used to convey the speaker’s Attitude toward the subject or audience and is perceived through the various methods and diction used to convey the events of the work. In oral conversation the “tone of voice” may be determined by listening to the words themselves, their inflection, modulation, denotation, and connotation, pitch, stress, or other sound regulators. However, since words on a page are flat, other methods of discernment must be employed.
Mood is the overall atmosphere created by the speaker, the setting the events, or narrator.
Attitude is the feeling the speaker holds toward the characters, events, or situation he is relating to the audience.
With few exceptions and for most practical purposes TONE = ATTITUDE
Problem: The terms “tone” and “attitude” may become indistinct.
Problem: Students often equate the speaker with the author.
Problem: To misinterpret tone is to misinterpret meaning.
Process: Understanding tone requires making inferences during and after a close reading of a work. The students must distinguish the techniques used to establish “tone,” “mood,” and “attitude.”
Results: Understanding and analyzing the difference between “tone,” “mood,” and “attitude” and perceiving tonal shifts.
Objective: Students should be able to show in verbal and written discussions their understanding of the techniques used by the author to establish attitude and achieve a certain tone.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Analyzing how Tone Contributes to Meaning and Attitude in Literature – In order to answer these questions, a student will need to examine the speaker’s diction: circling words is a good strategy
1. How does the author feel toward his subject?
2. How does the author feel about the characters?
3. How does the author feel about the events presented?
4. How does the author feel about his audience (readers)?
5. Can or does the author have different feelings for his subject and / or his audience?
6. Does the narrator feel the same as the author?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ All of these “feelings” determine the TONE and the ATTITUDE of the work. Strategies for determining MOOD: The mood of a piece is generally the overall atmosphere created by the diction, setting, characters, and events and is an important aspect of its style and might be described as: