Higher Close Reading Tone, Mood and Atmosphere
Tone • Tone is important in your appreciation of the passages you are given to read. There is nothing worse than taking everything seriously only to discover later it was all tongue-in-cheek. It is important to take an overview before you become involved in the individual questions.
What gets marks? • Because tone is so subjective, there are often a number of acceptable answers but identification of tone is usually only worth something if you justify your choice of that tone by referring to the passage. • Don’t putdown a list and hope that one of them is right – you won’t get any marks! • So identify and justify!!!
Recap • tone reveals the feelings and attitudes of the writer • it is how the writing might be said if it were read aloud • you will be asked to identify it, justify it and/or explain its impact • The main problem is a tone vocabulary!
A Tone Vocabulary • business-like • curious • chatty/friendly • mocking • disapproving • critical • contemptuous • menacing • dismissive • approving • humorous • tongue-in-cheek • sarcastic • ironic • emotional -name the emotion eg angry, depressed, elated,moody, indignant, • conversational
More tones • Despairing • Superior • Admiring • Uplifting • Hectoring • Doubtful • Self-deprecating • So . . . • Identify the tone • Provide the evidence- usually a quote • Comment on how the tone creates the effect or impact as required by the question.
Mood Questions on mood are answered in a similar way to those on tone: • Identify the mood • Provide the evidence- usually a quote • Comment on how the mood is created or creates the effect or impact as required by the question.
So what is mood? • Mood deals with the emotional dimension of the text such as fear, excitement, sadness, calm, determination, reflection, elation, optimistic, concern, reassurance etc. • It is detected through the language of the text and should ‘fit’ with the sense of the passage.
Atmosphere • Atmosphere involves the senses. It is what we perceive in an environment from what we can see, hear, taste, smell or feel. • It can be frightening, eerie, lively, decaying, neglected, exciting, soothing etc. • Answer using the same technique suggested for tone and mood.
Other techniques to consider. . . • Point of view or the writer’s stance • Contrast • Use of questions (real and rhetorical) • Use of anecdote • Use of examples, illustrations • Use of ‘experts’ • Sound – alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, word choice, repetitions, patterns of words
Tone in Individual Questions • Tone is the voice that would be used to say the sentence or word. If someone could read the passage aloud for you it would really help in this type of question. Unfortunately you have to do this silently to yourself – trying to ‘hear’ what your voice would do with it.