A Closer Look at TONE

Gentlemen, we are going to have a crack at Unseen Prose again, this time with a focus on tone.
Before we even begin, let’s have a recap of the approach we can take by flipping through our lecture notes.

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Now, just what is TONE?

Tone is the writer’s or persona’s attitude towards the subject in question. Remember that lecture we had on Miss Maudy? What was the writer’s tone towards her? Scathing? Sarcastic? Sardonic?

What gives rise to TONE? Obviously, it is due to the DICTION (choice of words) as well as STYLISTIC FEATURES (imagery, syntax, line or sentence length) employed by the writer. In fact, if you were sensitive in your reading, you would have noticed that the writer’s tone can shift as we get further into an extract. For example, in that piece on Miss Maudy, the tone gets increasingly ironic as we read on.

In other words, close reading of the text is imperative if you want to identify the tone of a passage and more importantly, if you want to evaluate the writer’s effectiveness in conveying that attitude.

Finally, look at the extract below.