Black People and Tone

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Tone is the attitude a writer has about a topic. For example, a tone might be serious, sarcastic, respectful, or unsympathetic. A writer establishes tone through choice of words and details.

Directions: Zora Neale Hurston creates a strong tone when she writes about race in this essay. In the second column of the chart, list key word choices and details from the essay that reflect her attitude for each topic. Describe her tone in the third column. Then answer the question that follows.

Topic| Word Choices and Details| Tone|
Growing up in a town with only African-Americans| She knew no other and just thought it was normal.| Laid back,normal| White people visiting Eatonville| NorthernersWhites would just pass thru| Exciting, actors| The difference between Eatonville and Jacksonville| Eatonville was only blacks and Jacksonville was predominantly white with colors being a minority.| Solemn and lonely| The lasting effects of slavery in the United States| People reminding her that she is a granddaughter of slaves| Depressed | How African-Americans and white people respond differently to music| African-Americans feel more depth and soul. It is real they have lived it and white people look for more classical to relax and just enjoy.| respectful|

What is the overall tone of Hurston’s essay? What point does Hurston make by choosing this tone to discuss the subject of race? Is Hurston’s tone appropriate and effective for her topic? Explain.

I believe her tone was excited about her younger years and the fun of just being a kid and knowing nothing about race or discrimination. Towards the end it became more solemn. But she was wrong by no means. Her talk and expression was regulated by her story telling. She only told about her situation and what she experienced. I really enjoyed it.
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