Download Tone in "Us and Them" (Handout)

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The Speaker’s Tone in “Us and Them”
Who is the speaker? Consider whatever is applicable: the speaker’s age, gender, education, financial
background, personality, beliefs, race, nationality, ethnicity, culture, etc.
What is the speaker’s tone? A reader can look at different literary elements (or literary terms) to
determine the attitude, or tone, of the speaker. A reader look at elements such as diction, syntax, and
figurative language, such as simile, metaphor, allusion, symbol, imagery, hyperbole, personification (or
anthropomorphism), irony, or oxymoron.
Allusion--a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary
or political significance. It does not describe in detail the person or thing to which it refers. It is just a
passing comment and the writer expects the reader to possess enough knowledge to spot the allusion
and grasp its importance in a text.
Hyperbole--an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis.
Irony—when words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual
meaning of the words. It may also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is
generally anticipated. In simple words, it is a difference between the appearance and the reality.
Oxymoron-- two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. The common oxymoron phrase is a
combination of an adjective proceeded by a noun with contrasting meanings, e.g. “cruel kindness” or
“living death”.
Symbol--generally, it is an object representing another to give it an entirely different meaning that is
much deeper and more significant. Sometimes, however, an action, an event, or a word spoken by
someone may have a symbolic value. For instance, “smile” is a symbol of friendship. Similarly, the
action of someone smiling at you may stand as a symbol of the feeling of affection that person has for
DIDLS for Tone Analysis
 Fill out the graphic organizer to help identify tone. This is often done in a close reading and/or during a
second/third read to gain a deeper understanding of the author/character’s tone and how specific
language helps to communicate underlying meaning in a text.
DICTION : The author’s choice of words and their connotations.
What words appear to have been chosen specifically for their effects?
What effect do these words have on your mood as the reader?
What do they seem to indicate about the author’s tone?
IMAGERY: The use of descriptions that appeal to sensory experience.
What images are especially vivid?
To what sense do these appeal?
What effect do these images have on your mood as a reader?
What do they seem to indicate about the author’s tone?
DETAILS: Facts included or those omitted.
What details has the author specifically included?
What details has the author apparently left out? (NOTE: This is only for analysis. Do not
write about these omitted details in an essay.)
What effect do these include and excluded details have on your mood as a reader?
What do these included and excluded details seem to indicate about the author’s tone?
LANGUAGE: Characteristics of the body of words use (slang, jargon, figurative language,
scholarly language, etc.)
How could the language be described?
How does the language affect your mood as a reader?
What does the language seem to indicate about the author’s tone?
SYNTAX: The way the sentences are constructed.
Are there many fragments or run-ons?
Are sentences very long or short? Are certain punctuation marks used for effect?
How do these structures affect your mood as a reader?
What do these structures seem to indicate about the author’s tone?