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How Tone Shapes Our Understanding of the Stories

In fiction writing, the writer is free to make several choices. These choices include setting character traits, and narrative’s voice or tone used to express his or her point of view.  Additionally, it is used to communicate a specific feeling. Nearly all of this week’s authors use a distinct tone for their work that shapes the reader’s understanding of the stories.

Frances E. W. Harper’s “Aunt Chloe,” “Aunt Chloe’s Politics,” and “Learning to Read” employ colorful yet colloquial words that communicate the speaker’s fearless tone. This helps the readers understand her frustration and perseverance as evidenced by her remembrance of “that dark and dreadful day” (Harper, line 2). Harper’s fearless tone helps the readers to create an image of the political situation that prevailed at that time, which in turn provokes an emotional response. The attention of the reader is drawn by the voice used by the author and which portrays the speaker’s low social class. For instance, the line “I’ve seen ’em honey-fugle round” in the second stanza of “Aunt Chloe’s Politics” paints a clear picture of the low education level of the speaker.

On the other hand, Louisa May Alcott’s “Transcendental Wild Oats” uses an emotional tone characterized by sarcasm and cheekiness. Alcott’s criticism of the failure to use animals for human beings benefit emerges through the community’s diet through the statements such as “Neither sugar, molasses, milk, butter, cheese nor flesh are to be used among us for nothing is to be admitted which has caused wrong or death to man or beasts.” The author’s tone helps the readers understand that Alcott’s story is based on her personal experiences.How Tone Shapes Our Understanding of the Stories



Work Cited

Showalter, Elaine, ed. The Vintage Book of American Women Writers. Vintage, 2011.