https://www.storyboardthat.com/literary-terms/tone

Tone Definition: Tone reflects the attitude that an author or a narrator has towards a particular topic or character.

Tone

Tone is the author’s attitude towards a subject or character. Common descriptions of tone can include indifference, friendly, brusque, teasing, critical, humorous, solemn, cheerful, etc. Tone can help set a mood, highlight a character’s strengths or flaws, or clue the reader in on something important they should know. Tone can also reflect the author’s understanding of a topic, particularly in poetry, which enhances the reader’s comprehension of meanings hidden behind heavily figurative language. Tone differs from mood in that while it can help to create mood, it is not meant to stir emotions within the reader; instead, its purpose is to reveal the personality of a character or the author towards a subject. For example, while love is often an optimistic and upbeat topic, for someone who has just been heartbroken, love is a complicated and devastating emotion. Romeo reveals this tone towards love in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet after he has been turned away by Rosaline, before he meets Juliet.

“I am too sore enpiercèd with his shaft / To soar with his light feathers, and so bound, / I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe. / Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.”

Notable Examples of Tone in Literature

  • Holden’s sarcasm in The Catcher in the Rye
  • Narrator’s attitudes towards the early Protestant settlers in The Scarlet Letter
  • Nick Carraway’s growing disillusionment in The Great Gatsby
  • The resigned tone of the life which George and Hazel Bergeron live belies the tragedy of government-imposed handicaps, even while their son Harrison dances onstage and is eventually arrested in front of their eyes in “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut

How Do I Use This?

The picture encyclopedia storyboards have easily digestible information with a visual to stimulate understanding and retention. Storyboard That is passionate about student agency, and we want everyone to be storytellers. Storyboards provide an excellent medium to showcase what students have learned, and to teach to others.

Student Presenting a Storyboard

Use these encyclopedias as a springboard for individual and class-wide projects!


  • Assign a term/person/event to each student to complete their own storyboard
  • Create your own picture encyclopedia of a topic you are studying
  • Create a picture encyclopedia to the people in your class or school
  • Post storyboards to class and school social media channels
  • Copy and edit these storyboards and use as references or visuals
Learn more about various devices in literature in our Picture Encyclopedia of Literary Elements!
*(This will start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)
https://www.storyboardthat.com/literary-terms/tone
© 2021 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.