The tone of a literary work is the perspective or attitude that the author adopts with regards to a specific character, place or development. Tone can portray a variety of emotions ranging from solemn, grave, and critical to witty, wry and humorous. Tone helps the reader ascertain the writer’s feelings towards a particular topic and this in turn influences the reader’s understanding of the story.

In her Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling has taken an extremely positive, inspiring and uplifting tone towards the idea of love and devotion.

7 thoughts on “Tone”

  1. Tone can only be considered as subjective. The student’s ability to explain their interpretation in a consistent way is all that’s required. Having said that it can be daunting for them because there’s not one ‘correct’ response. Best way to check Is to make sure the interpretation arrived at is consistent with other elements of their analysis.

  2. I agree with the comment above that tone can be subjective to an extent. In my opinion, if the student defends their perspective with a logical argument and evidence to back it up, then fair enough – I’d mark it based on how well the student defended their claim.

  3. I know the difference between tone and mood. However, the rule for determining tone is a little unclear. The way I currently view tone is that it’s the reader’s job to determine what tone the author uses. So, with that being said, can tone be viewed differently from one reader to the next? For example, one of my students viewed the author’s tone of a text more positively, while another of my student’s viewed the same author’s text in a more neutral light.

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