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Diction, Mood, & Tone in Literature

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Presentation on theme: "Diction, Mood, & Tone in Literature"— Presentation transcript:

1 Diction, Mood, & Tone in Literature

2 "Dearest reader, I humbly entreat you to eschew the latest celebrity tittle-tattle and instead devote your attention to diction and tone.” ….say whaaat? Maybe this sounds a bit more normal: ”Hey, listen up! Drop the gossip magazine and get with the diction/tone program!” …Ok, so maybe it doesn’t quite sound “normal”, but it definitely sounds different! Here’s why:

3 Why do these two comments sound different?
Because the words come from two separate planets! The first comment resides in formal territory, and the second comment lives on the streets (informal). Put the two side by side and you see contrasting diction — the vocabulary with which a writer expresses.

4 Diction a.k.a. “Word Choice"
 Denotation: the literal meaning of the word; dictionary definition of a word  Connotation: the emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word; the ideas or qualities that are implied by a word Ex. “You may live in a house, but I live in a home.”

5 Explanation of Example
If you were to look up the words house and home in a dictionary, you would find that both words have approximately the same meaning-- "a dwelling place”. However, the speaker in the sentence above suggests that home has an additional meaning. Aside from the strict dictionary definition, or denotation, many people associate such things as comfort, love, security, or privacy with a home but do not necessarily make the same associations with a house. The various feelings, images, and memories that surround a word make up its connotation. Although both house and home have the same denotation, or dictionary meaning, home also has many connotations. Since everyone reacts differently, writers often deliberately select words that they think will influence your reactions and appeal to your emotions.

6 thrifty or penny-pinching pushy or assertive reckless or adventurous
Which word in each pair below has the more favorable (positive) connotation to you? thrifty or penny-pinching pushy or assertive reckless or adventurous politician or statesman chef or cook slender or skinny Bookworm or scholar

7 Tone - the attitude of the author towards his or her characters, subject matter and/or actions
You were likely still in diapers when you first understood tone — the way an author communicates a feeling or attitude toward the subject he is writing about. For example, in speaking terms, a sympathetic tone, as in "Oh, did you skin your knee? Poor baby!" can be distinguished from "Take out the garbage now!" without any formal lessons. Tone in writing is a little more difficult to determine because you can't hear the author's words as the author intended them to be read. Instead, you have to pick up clues from the text.

8 Tone ★Tone is the attitude the author takes toward the subject.
★The language and details the writer chooses to describe the characters, setting, and events help to create the tone. ★Tone often reflects the author’s purpose. ★Consider which details are included and which are left out. If the author is listing reasons and answering likely objections in advance, the tone is argumentative or persuasive. If the poet goes on and on about the snowy, picture-perfect holidays of childhood, nostalgia is a good bet.

9 Mood *The writer may carefully select details such as descriptive words, dialogue, imagery, and setting to create a mood. *The writer may also rely on sounds and rhythms of words, as well as symbolism to convey mood.

10 Mood v. Tone Mood refers to the reader’s response to the text, while tone refers to the feelings of the writer. Emotions can produce the mood or feeling in a piece of writing. Setting affects the mood dramatically. Tone describes the writer’s attitude toward his or her subject. Mood may shift, but one mood usually prevails.

11 Visualizing Three strategies:
Look for details that appeal to the senses. Form mental pictures. Connect personal experiences to the text.

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