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Understanding voice in literature and using it in your own writing Adapted from Nancy Dean’s Voice Lessons.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding voice in literature and using it in your own writing Adapted from Nancy Dean’s Voice Lessons."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding voice in literature and using it in your own writing Adapted from Nancy Dean’s Voice Lessons

2 What is Tone? Tone is the expression of attitude. It is the writer’s (or narrator’s) implied attitude toward his subject and audience. The writer creates tone by selection (diction) and arrangement (syntax) of words, and by the purposeful use of details and images. Tone sets the emotion growing out of the material and is the hallmark of the writer’s personality.

3 What is Tone? Tone is as varied as human experience. Identifying and analyzing tone requires careful reading and attention to all of the writer’s choices. Sounds overwhelming? One trick that may help you figure out the tone of the story that you're reading is to imagine a key scene from the story as a movie. What sort of music would be playing in the background? Do you imagine something dark and moody, light and peppy, somber and thoughtful? Music is a tool often used in movies to emphasize tone.

4 Tone in Their Eyes In Their Eyes were Watching God, Hurston’s tone is one of deep appreciation and celebration of African- American folk culture. Her attitude toward Janie is compassionate and affirming; in fact, she shows sympathy toward most of her characters, even those that seem antagonistic. Hurston does this by providing context to help the reader understand the characters motivations. Practice: What music do you hear in the hurricane scene? What about Janie’s return to Eatonville?

5 Tone in Brave New World Huxley’s tone is extremely critical of the World State. The descriptions of the caste system, the children’s “erotic play,” and the pill-popping, promiscuous, vapid adults, serve as a warning of society’s fate if we continue down our current consumerist, government- controlled path. Practice: His attitude toward the reservation is decidedly different. How would you describe Huxley’s tone toward the reservation?

6 Tone in Going After Cacciato Practice: What music do you hear when Stink kills the water buffalo? What is O’Brien’s tone in this scene? How does that differ from the tone on the Song Tra Bon? What music (if any) do you hear there?

7 Thinking About Tone As we read Hamlet, think about the music that might play as a soundtrack to each scene to see if that helps you to identify tone. What type of music might play while Ophelia and Laertes converse about Hamlet’s love before Laertes departs for France? What tone does it set?


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