October 28, 2012
LAN101: AP English Language and Composition
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Tone and style are two important literary devices commonly used to elicit emotions from readers. Tone is defined as the writer’s attitude towards the material and the audience. Authors create tone through use of other literary devices, such as diction, syntax, and imagery. Style is the manner in which an author chooses to write to their audience, and can reveal the author’s character and voice. A skilled writer uses a blend of specific tones and styles when writing about certain subjects, or to a certain audience. A seasoned author also considers crucial questions, such as how will an altered writing style create a given tone? Also, how will that tone influence readers? Suppose a writer is attempting to persuade his audience to avoid caffeine. He now has to consider these questions, while also choosing an appropriate tone for a given audience.
An author has a wealth of different tones to choose from. For example, the author could use a critical, cynical, and belligerent tone. This tone reeks of scorn and contempt. Cutting remarks and scalding language are the tools used to craft this unsympathetic tone. If an author is attempting to dissuade his audience from using caffeine, he would use harsh remarks against caffeine users. These insults create animosity between the writer and audience, and effectively prevent the audience from considering the author’s views on caffeine.
Although a critical, cynical and belligerent tone may be abrasive and derogatory, using an elitist and overly-sophisticated tone in its place may be just as hindering to an author. This snobbish and superfluous tone can confuse readers, and confusion can be just as damaging as cynicism. To construct this tone, authors use complex and overly-large phrases which baffle readers. Additionally, potentially straight-forward sentences become bogged down by...