Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

دوره: GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide / فصل: GRE Verbal Reasoning- Reading Skills / درس 7

GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide

26 فصل | 199 درس

Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

توضیح مختصر

In this lesson, we will define the literary terms tone and mood. We will then discuss how to identify each of them, as well as how to identify them in small reading passages.

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فایل ویدیویی

متن انگلیسی درس

Picture This

It was a dark and stormy night. I sat alone in the old, dilapidated house staring out the window. The sky was black, the wind was loud, and the rain slammed against the broken windowpane. I shut my eyes, remembering my earlier visit, and I felt so embarrassed and angry. When I opened them, the lightning bolt flashed and lit up the room once more. I had to get out of the house; I had to hide. No one could know my horrible mistake. I opened the door, took a deep breath, and ran into the cold and rain.

What feelings did you have while listening to the previous story? What made you feel this way? What words did you hear that helped create this feeling? By answering these questions, you are on your way to defining the mood and tone. Mood and tone are important because they help create the meaning of a story.

What Is Mood?

Mood is the feeling you get while reading a story. This could be happiness, sadness, darkness, anger, suspicion, loneliness, or even excitement. You can think of mood as the atmosphere of the story.

To describe mood, you should think about the setting and the language used by the author. In the opening story, we saw the setting as dark and the weather angry. The narrator used language that created fear, such as cold and black.

The mood of a story can change how we identify the thesis and the characters. For example, if we read a short story about a lovable nanny, we would expect positive words like cheerful, loving, and caring. However, we could take that same idea of a nanny and make it more of a horror story by changing the atmosphere with aggravated, cold, and enraged. We have the same character, but the author’s message and description is much different.

What Is Tone?

Tone is the author’s attitude toward a subject. The tone can be identified by looking at word choices and phrases. Take time to look at the language. An author uses words to create meaning. For example, a dog described as a lovable puppy is positive, but one described as a fierce fighter is more frightening.

You should also decide if a word is abstract, concrete, general, or specific. It is important to note if an author is using a general word, like car, or a more specific word, like Ford Focus. An abstract word is one that may carry different meanings, such as pleasant, while a concrete word will show us the meaning.

Finally, look at the details of the story. Language is the first step to finding the tone, but the word choice is just as important. Look how an author describes the setting, a character, or an event. This description will help create the tone.

But, they sound so alike: mood and tone do seem very similar, but they are two separate literary elements. Tone is how the author feels towards the subject. We see this by the way the author describes the subject. Mood is how we feel when reading the story. It is our reaction to the atmosphere described by the author.

Let’s Practice

Let’s practice. Finding mood and tone in a story can begin by looking at sentences. Doing these short examples will show how looking at word choices and phrasing can help identify both elements.

Nearly skipping into the room, her face glowed as she showed her shining, beautiful engagement ring.

The mood of this passage is happy, joyful, optimistic, or excited. The tone (how the author feels about the topic) is positive. We can see this in the words skipping, glowed, shining, and beautiful.

Slamming the door open, the angry teenager yelled at the poor, old woman waiting for the bus.

The mood of this passage could be described as sad, sympathetic, or frustrated. The tone would be sadness for the old woman or anger for the teenager. We see this in slamming, angry, poor, and old.

Gently and softly smiling, the young, happy new mom quietly rocked her child, laid her slowly into her warm bed, and turned the nightlight on, creating a comforting glow.

The mood of this passage could be described as peaceful and loving. The tone is affectionate and calm. We see this in the words gently, softly, young, happy, warm, and comforting.

Lesson Summary

Mood and tone are two literary elements that help create the main idea of a story. The mood is the atmosphere of the story, and the tone is the author’s attitude towards the topic. We can identify both by looking at the setting, characters, details, and word choices. By doing so, it will help us find meaning in the story or passage and help us feel more connected to the writing.

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