Evaluating Style
Page 572
CCRS -- W.9-10.4, W.9-10.10, RL.9-10.2, RL.9-10.3, RL.910.5, RL.9-10.9, SL.9-10.1, L.9-10.1, L.9-10.2, L.9-10.3,
L.9-10.6
Literary Skills – Understand elements of style, including
diction, figurative language, tone, and mood.
What Is Style?
Style is a writer’s distinctive way of using
language. Style can take many forms.
Formal/Informal
Comical/Serious
Plain/Ornate
Diction
Diction, or word choice, is one of the main
elements of style.
Long, elegant words
Short, everyday words
vivacious
lively
nonplussed
at a loss
pandemonium
chaos
Formal words
Informal words
I kindly accept your invitation.
I’ll be there.
in a difficult situation
in a jam
was indisposed
felt under the weather
Figures of Speech
Whether a writer prefers to use figurative or
literal language also affects style.
Figurative language
Literal language
He felt as trapped as a cat in
a vet’s office.
He felt completely trapped.
Her fingers were
She played the piano with a
hummingbirds’ wings
light, quick touch.
brushing over the piano keys.
My brother looked as if he’d
suddenly awakened to find
himself on Mars.
My brother looked utterly
confused.
Sentence Patterns
Sentence patterns—the ways writers construct
sentences—also help create style.
Short, punchy sentences
Long, complex sentences
“Tom was tugging at a button
and looking sheepish. He
blushed, now, and his eyes
fell.”
“Children can feel, but they
cannot analyse their feelings;
and if the analysis is partially
effected in thought, they
know not how to express the
result of the process in
words.”
from The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer by Mark Twain
from Jane Eyre by Charlotte
Brontë
Review
Compare the style of these two excerpts. Which is
more formal?
When I think of the hometown
of my youth, all that I seem
to remember is dust—the
brown, crumbly dust of late
summer—arid, sterile dust
that gets into the eyes and
makes them water, gets into
the throat and between the
toes of bare brown feet.
from “Marigolds” by Eugenia W.
Collier
It was in the clove of
seasons, summer was dead
but autumn had not yet been
born, that the ibis lit in the
bleeding tree. The flower
garden was stained with
rotting brown magnolia
petals, and ironweeds grew
rank amid the purple phlox.
from “The Scarlet Ibis” by James
Hurst
Tone
Tone is a writer’s attitude toward a subject, a
character, or the audience. Writers convey tone
through their choice of words.
tumbled joyfully
OR
rolled around noisily
majestic sweep of dunes
OR
empty waste of sand
Tone
Plot, Theme, and Tone
The plot and theme, or central idea, of a story
also may reveal tone.
Plot
A man rebuilds
his life after a
terrible accident.
Theme
Adversity can be
overcome.
Tone
admiring, optimistic
Tone
You might find the following words helpful in
describing tone:
Words for Tone
admiring
affectionate
bitter
comic
forgiving
mocking
sarcastic
serious
vengeful
Mood
Mood is the feeling a story evokes. Writers create
mood through
• diction
• figures of speech
tender blooms
in soft light
rolling hills draped by
a shroud of fog
stalks etched starkly
against an orange sky
Mood
You might find the following words helpful in
describing mood:
Words for Mood
eerie
gloomy
joyful
mysterious
peaceful
sad
Imagery
• Imagery – words or phrases that
appeal to one or more of our senses
– is often used to create mood.
Mood
Quick Check
I still keep in mind a certain wonderful
sunset which I witnessed. . . . high above
the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree
waved a single leafy bough that glowed like
a flame in the unobstructed splendor that
was flowing from the sun. There were
graceful curves, reflected images, woody
heights, soft distances: and over the whole
scene, far and near, the dissolving lights
drifted steadily, enriching it, every passing
moment, with new marvels of coloring.
from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
What is the
mood of the
passage? What
words and
images help
create the
mood?
Mood
Quick Check
I still keep in mind a certain wonderful
sunset which I witnessed. . . . high above
the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree
waved a single leafy bough that glowed like
a flame in the unobstructed splendor that
was flowing from the sun. There were
graceful curves, reflected images, woody
heights, soft distances: and over the whole
scene, far and near, the dissolving lights
drifted steadily, enriching it, every passing
moment, with new marvels of coloring.
from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
What is the
mood of the
passage? What
words and
images help
create the
mood?
Peaceful,
awe-inspiring,
majestic
Practice
Choose one of these topics: tests,
friends, school lunches. Then, write about it
twice. Write one paragraph in the formal style
you would use in a research paper. Write the other
in the informal style you would use when talking
with friends. Label your paragraphs. (Min. ½
page for each paragraph)
P. 574 Quickwrite
Read the story on pages 575-578.
P. 579 Questions 1-5
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Elements of Literature: Character