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Teaching Literature
Tone & Mood

Interpretive fiction presents the reader with significant insights into life and into human nature. Such truths take a greater hold when they are conveyed through our feelings as well as through our intellect.

* Identifying the tone or mood is often an important clue to help the reader discover literary themes.
* Considering how a writer creates a certain tone or mood helps the reader appreciate the author's style.

Tone= Style or Manner of expression in speech or writing.

The Dictionary of Literary Terms by Martin Gray (Longman/York Press, 1996, ISBN 0-582-08037-1) gives the following for tone:
"…Tone is thus a critical concept which implies that literature is like speech, requiring a speaker and a listener, tone being the attitude adopted by the speaker to the listener ---the author's attitude toward the work, events, characters, or the reader/audience -- , gathered and understood from the kind of syntax and vocabulary used. For the full understanding of a work it is essential to recognize its tone or range of tones, however difficult that may be, especially for non-native speakers of English.

Irony, for example, in which an author does not mean what he or she says, may pass unnoticed, if the tone of a passage is misunderstood."

Mood= Atmosphere, State of mind.

"The Dictionary of Literary Terms" gives for Mood:
Mood (OE 'mind, feeling' from ON 'anger') A term used synonymously with atmosphere to indicate in a literary work the prevailing feeling or frame of mind, especially at the start of a play, poem or novel, creating a sense of expectation about what is to follow.

Some Adjectives to Describe:

            1. Tone: Formal, Informal, Serious, Humorous, Amused, Angry, Playful, Neutral, Satirical, Playful, Conciliatory, Gloomy, Sad, Resigned, Supercilious ( Showing contemptuous indifference ), Cheerful, Ironic, Clear, Detailed, Imploring, Monotonous, Suspicious, Pompous, Witty (Full of humor), matter-of-fact tone ……….
            1. Mood: Fictional, Imaginary, Fanciful, Idealistic, Romantic, Realistic, Optimistic, Pessimistic, Gloomy, Melancholic, Mournful, Sorrowful…...

Page Created on September 8, 1998
 Last updated on April 1, 2009
   Copyright © 1998/2009 by Nada Salem Abisamra

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