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Analyzing Tone

Analyzing Tone. DIDLS. Some Classic Prompts. Read the following passage carefully. Then write an essay that explains and analyzes the effect of the passage on the reader. Pay particular attention to how the writer uses diction, syntax, imagery, and tone to produce that effect.

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Analyzing Tone

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  1. Analyzing Tone DIDLS

  2. Some Classic Prompts • Read the following passage carefully. Then write an essay that explains and analyzes the effect of the passage on the reader. Pay particular attention to how the writer uses diction, syntax, imagery, and tone to produce that effect. • Write an essay in which you analyze the specific stylistic and rhetorical differences between these introductory passages.

  3. DIDLS • Using the acronym DIDLS helps remember the basic elements of tone that they should consider when evaluating prose or poetry. • Diction, images, details, language, and sentence structure all help to create the author's or speaker's attitude toward the subject and audience.

  4. Here’s the Breakdown… • Diction: the connotation of the word choice. • Images: vivid appeals to understanding through the senses • Details: facts that are included or those omitted • Language: the overall use of language, such as formal, clinical, or jargon • Sentence structure: how structure affects the reader’s attitude.

  5. Diction • Attitudes implied by the varying word choice. For example: • Tolaugh: to guffaw, to chuckle, to titter, to giggle, to cackle, to snicker, to roar • Self-confident: proud, conceited, egotistical, stuck up, haughty, smug, complacent, arrogant, condescending • House: home, hut, shack, mansion, cabin, chalet, abode, dwelling, shanty, domicile, residence • King: ruler, leader, tyrant, dictator, autocrat, rex • Old: mature, experienced, antique, relic, ancient, elderly, senior • Fat: obese, plump, corpulent, portly, roly-poly, stout, rotund, burly, full-figured  

  6. Images • The use of vivid descriptions or figures of speech that appeal to sensory experiences helps to create the author's tone. • Evaluate the author's or speaker's tone conveyed in the images of the following lines of poetry: • My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun. • An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king. • He clasps the crag with crooked hands. • If I should die, think only this of me. That there's a corner of a foreign field that is forever England. •  If we must die, let it not be like hogs/Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot. • Love sets you going like a fat gold watch. • Smiling, the boy fell dead. • But I am bound upon a wheel of fire/That mine own tears do scald like molten lead.

  7. Details • Details are most commonly thefacts given by the author or speaker as support for the attitude or tone. The speaker's perspective shapes what details are given. • Consider how a student might choose some details and omit others to affect an audience. • What changes in detail might a young adolescent make in reporting a minor car accident to her parents, a policeman, or her friends at school?

  8. Language Like word choice, the language of a passage has control over tone. Consider language to be the entire body of words used in a text, not simply isolated bits of diction. For example… • an invitation to a graduation might use formal language, whereas a biology text would use scientific and clinical language. • Language words, different from tone, describe the force or quality of • the diction, images, and details. These words qualify how the work is written, not the attitude or tone.

  9. Analyzing Lou Gehrig’s Speech • Analyze Lou Gehrig’s speech using DIDLS • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4msaZTJrTA

  10. Language Formallanguage: • But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. Ordinarylanguage: • It's not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you: hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page. (I hear New York, too.) Me—who? Informallanguage: • for sure, but I reckon it's cause we ain't got no wheres to run to."

  11. Sentence Structures • How a speaker or author constructs a sentence affects what the audience understands. The inverted order of an interrogative sentence cues the reader or listener to a question and creates a tension between speaker and listener. Similarly short sentences are often emphatic, passionate or flippant, whereas longer sentences suggest the writer's thoughtful response.   • SHIFT IN TONE • key words (but, yet, nevertheless, however, although) • punctuation (dashes, periods, colons) • stanza and paragraph divisions • changes in line and stanza or in sentence length • sharp contrasts in diction  

  12. Begin practicing the analysis of tone by using short passages that use a specific device such as Diction, Images, Details, Language or Sentence Structure to convey tone. Suggest what tone words you would use to describe the speaker's attitude. • 1.      Read the excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Fall of the House of Usher” and discuss how he has created a sense of foreboding. During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher...I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling...(with) vacant and eye-like windows.

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