Analyzing tone
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Analyzing Tone. Objectives. Students will be able to identify complimentary tones and tonal shifts in a variety of passages by highlighting and indicating in writing. Handout: tone words. How is tone created? . Diction and Syntax can both be used to create a tone .

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Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify complimentary tones and tonal shifts in a variety of passages by highlighting and indicating in writing.

  • Handout: tone words


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How is tone created?

  • Diction and Syntax can both be used to create a tone.

  • Figurative language (similes, metaphors, etc.)

  • Detail, imagery & local color

  • Rhetorical techniques

  • These are all part of an author’s STYLE.


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Intro to Tone

  • When a prompt is asking about the author’s attitude, it is referring to tone.

  • Tone is the attitude expressed by the author, speaker, or character toward the topic at hand.

  • In one piece, there may be a main tone with supporting undertones. There may be two or three complimentary tones. There may be shifts in tone. We must practice identifying all of these so that we can write about them.


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Complimentary Tones

  • Complimentary tones are similar, but not exactly the same.

  • Complimentary tones are not synonyms.

  • Tone words may be various parts of speech, but should be consistent. For example, use two adjectives OR two nouns to indicate tone.


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Instructions for Practice

  • Read each passage and write down a list of words which seem important to you and also words which may suggest a deeper meaning. Then read back over the passage. Consider the words you chose and decide which two tones they may suggest. These are the two complimentary tones of the passage.


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Example 1

  • “There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, it made its slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and overspread one another, as the waves of an unwholesome sea might do. It was dense enough to shut out everything from the light of the coach –lamps but these its own workings, and a few yards of road; and the reek of the labouring horses steamed into it, as if they had made it all.” - A Tale of Two Cities


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Words that Create Tone

  • “There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, it made its slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and overspread one another, as the waves of an unwholesome sea might do. It was dense enough to shut out everything from the light of the coach –lamps but these its own workings, and a few yards of road; and the reek of the labouring horses steamed into it, as if they had made it all.” - A Tale of Two Cities


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Complimentary Tones

  • The words ‘steaming mist’, ‘hollows’, ‘clammy’, and ‘dense’ create a sense of mystery and secrecy.

  • The words ‘forlornness’, ‘evil’, ‘intensely cold’, ‘unwholesome sea’, and ‘reek of labouring horses’ are hints of evil, ominous strangeness.


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Sentences

  • A. TONES: mysterious, ominous

  • B. The mysterious new girl in school has made the other students curious because she won’t say where she came from, and won’t talk about her family or past.

  • C. The warning sign on the fence was ominous, so, fearing for our safety, we decided not to go further.


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For each example:

  • 1. Write the words which seem important/ tone words/ connotative.

  • 2. Identify the two complimentary tones.

  • 3. Write two sentences, using the tone words, that clearly reveal the tone’s meaning.


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Passage 1

  • “Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on him while unfinished; he was ugly then; but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.” -Frankenstein


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Possible Complimentary Tones

  • Frightening, repulsive


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Passage 2

  • “It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too. I hadn’t seen no house out in the country before that was so nice and had so much style. It didn’t have an iron latch on the front door, nor a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob to turn, the same as houses in a town. There warn’t no bed in the parlor, not a sign of a bed; but heaps of parlors in town had beds in them. There was a big fireplace that was bricked on the bottom, and the bricks was kept clean and red by pouring water on them…”- Huckleberry Finn


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Possible Complimentary Tones

  • Impressionable, admiring


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Passage 3

“He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea behind him crawls;

He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls.”

-”The Eagle” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson



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Tonal Shifts

  • Good authors rarely use one tone

  • Speakers’ complex attitudes


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Look for:

  • Key words (e.g. but, yet, nevertheless, however, although)

  • Punctuation (dashes, semicolons, periods)

  • Stanza & paragraph divisions

  • Changes in line & stanza or sentence length

  • Sharp contrasts in diction


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“The Man He Killed”

  • Read the poem, “The Man He Killed”.

  • Note how the speaker puzzles about the irony of killing men in war who might have been neighbors or friends.

  • However, the speaker grows more uncertain of his attitude.

  • Repetition & punctuation guide the reader to the speaker’s shifting tone.


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DIDLS

  • Diction the connotation/word choice

  • Images vivid appeals through the senses

  • Details facts included/omitted

  • Language overall use/ level

  • Syntax


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Practice using DIDLS

  • “Fall of the House of Usher”

  • “Life in Caves”

  • “Today is Very Boring”

  • “The Hobbit”

  • “Walkabout”

  • “The Pearl”

  • “The Bluest Eye”

  • “The Picture of Dorian Gray”


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