VOICE Diction Detail Imagery Syntax Tone VOICE Effective voice is shaped by words that are clear, concrete, and exact. Good writers eschew (to avoid; to shun) words like
pretty, nice, good, beautiful, fine, things, really, very, terrible, a lot, and bad. Instead they employ words that invoke a specific effect. VOICE IS THE FINGERPRINT OF A PERSONS LANGUAGE There are 5 elements of voice: Diction Detail
Imagery Syntax Tone DICTION Diction refers to word choice. It is the foundation of voice and contributes to all of its elements. Words: Create color and texture Reflect and determine the level of formality Shape the readers perceptions When reading serious literature, NEVER skip words you do
not know! It is tantamount to wearing earplugs when you attend a symphony. DICTION Effective voice is shaped by words that are clear, concrete, and exact. Good writers will tell you that the door does not shut, it thuds. He is not wearing a torn coat, it is a tattered coat. Diction depends on: Topic-There is a vast difference in word choice from an article on computers and a short story by Poe. Purpose-Words are chosen to impart a particular effect: convince, entertain, amuse, inform or plead. Occasion-This is the level of formality; formal (scholarly
writing), informal (the norm and includes slang and colloquial diction) DICTION Other terms that accompany the study of diction are connotation and denotation. Denotation-dictionary definition of a word. The red curtains are hanging. (red allows you to see the color of the curtains) Connotation-the meaning suggested by the word. The blood red curtains are hanging. (using blood in front of red creates a completely different feeling.
Good writers make choices to balance complexity and simplicity. Good writers make choices to balance multiple meanings with precision. DICTION Twenty bodies were thrown out of our wagon. Then the train resumed its journey, leaving behind it a few hundred naked dead, deprived of burial, in the deep snow of a field in Poland. -Elie Wiesel, Night How would the meaning change if we substituted dead people for bodies? Fifteen chickens were slaughtered for the feast. Change the word above to a word that disassociates the
reader from the true action of the sentence. In fact, a hyenas catholicity of taste is so indiscriminate it nearly forces admiration. A hyena will drink from water even as it is urinating in it. The animal has another original use for its urine: in hot, dry weather it will cool itself by relieving its bladder on the ground and stirring up a refreshing mud bath with its paws. Hyenas snack on the excrement of herbivores with clucks of pleasure. Its an open question as to what hyenas wont eat. They eat their own kind (the rest of those whose ears and noses they gobbled down as appetizers) once theyre dead, after a period of
aversion that lasts about one day. They will even attack motor vehicles--the headlights, the exhaust USING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE OF PI, COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING: 1. Discuss the bold words and their effect on the paragraph. 2. Replace the bold words for a different effect. DETAIL Detail includes facts, observations, and
incidents used to develop a subject and impart voice. Details a writer includes or excludes help shape voice. In elementary and middle school, you were asked to include as much detail as possible. As a high school student, you will be asked to choose your details carefully for analysis that do not detract or trivialize your purpose. DETAIL Specific details refer to fewer things than general descriptions, thereby creating a precise mental picture. However, the more specific the details are, the greater the focus on the object
described. Detail brings life and color to description, focusing your attention and bringing you into a specific scene. Detail encourages you to participate in the text, use of detail influences your view on the topic, setting, narrator, and author. Detail can be an understatement by a LACK of detail. The absence of specific details, for example, may be in sharp contrast to the intensity of a characters pain. In this case, elaborate, descriptive detail could turn the pain into sentimentality. DETAIL An old man, Don Tomasito, the baker, played the tuba. When he blew into the huge mouthpiece, his face would turn purple and
his thousand wrinkles would disappear as his skin filled out. -Alberto Alvaro Rios, The Iguana Killer Compare the first two sentences. Contrast the second sentence with the following. How does it change the attitude toward Tomasito? When he blew the tuba, his face turned purple and his cheeks puffed out. DETAIL: GEORGE ORWELL, SHOOTING THE ELEPHANT
I rounded the hut and saw a man's dead body sprawling in the mud. He was an Indian, a black Dravidian coolie, almost naked, and he could not have been dead many minutes. The people said that the elephant had come suddenly upon him round the corner of the hut, caught him with its trunk, put its foot on his back and ground him into the earth. This was the rainy season and the ground was soft, and his face had scored a trench a foot deep and a couple of yards long. He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of DETAIL:
GEORGE ORWELL, SHOOTING THE ELEPHANT What is the authors attitude toward the coolies death? What details in the passage reveal this attitude? Examine the last sentence of this paragraph. How would it have affected the overall impact had Orwell written, his eyes wide open, his teeth bared and grinning? Reread chapter 15 from Life of Pi (pages 45-46) and
answer the following question: 1.Identify and describe what specific details reveal about the character of Pi, his perspective, and his motives. IMAGERY: Imagery is the verbal representation of sensory experience. The different types of imagery are: Visual-sight Tactile-touch
Auditory-sound Gustatory-taste Olfactory-smell Imagery depends on both diction and detail: the success in producing a sensory experience results from the specificity of the authors diction and choice of detail. IMAGERY: Imagery includes figurative language:
Visual Simile: compare using like or as Metaphor: compare without like or as Hyperbole: extreme exaggeration Extended Metaphor: a metaphor introduced and then further developed throughout all or part of a literary work, especially a poem: Robert Frost uses two roads as an extended metaphor in The Road Not Taken. Personification: giving human characteristics to an object Allusion: reference to a mythological, literary, historical, or Biblical person place or thing. IMAGERY: In the midst of poverty and want, Felix carried with pleasure to his
sister the first little white flower that peeped out from beneath the snowy ground. -Mary Shelly, Frankenstein What do you understand about Felix from the imagery of this sentence? How would the effect be different if Felix carried his sister a big bouquet of spring flowers? Write a sentence which expresses the joy of a renewal through a visual image. IMAGERY: A foul and pungent smell, an earthy mix of
rust and excrement, hung in the air. There was blood everywhere, coagulating to a deep read crust. A single fly buzzed about, sounding to me like an alarm bell of insanity. No ship, nothing at all, had appeared on the horizon that day, and now the day was ending. When the sun slipped below the horizon, it was not only the day that died and the poor zebra, but my family as well. With that second sunset, disbelief gave way to pain and grief. They were dead; I could no longer deny it. p. 127 Life of Pi 1. Identify and explain the function of imagery in this passage. SYNTAX Syntax is the grammatical sentence structure. It controls the verbal pacing and the focus
of the written text through word order, sentence length, sentence focus, and punctuation. Most sentences follow subject/verb/object/complement pattern. Deviating from that pattern can serve to startle your reader and draw attention to the sentence, emphasizing the unusual message in the sentence. Sentence Length: Telegraphic-shorter than 5 words Short-approximately 5 words Medium-approximately 18 words SYNTAX
Sentence Patterns: Declarative, Imperative, Interrogative, Exclamatory Simple, Compound, Complex, Compound Complex (CC=2 or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. Cumulative/Loose-a main clause that is followed by phrases and/or clauses that modify the main clause and add information: We reached Edmonton that morning after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences. Periodic Sentence-makes sense only when the end of the sentence is reached: That morning, after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences, we reached Edmonton. SYNTAX
Sentence Patterns: Natural Order-subject, predicate Inverted-predicate, subject Split order-predicate, subject, predicate In California oranges grow. Parallel Structure- grammatical or structural similarity between sentences or parts of a sentence involving arrangement of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs so that elements of equal importance are equally developed and similarly phrased. A sentence, article, chapter, and even book can be written in parallel structure. Parallel denotes equality. Juxtaposition-a poetic and rhetorical device which normally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to one another, creating an effect of
surprise. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times SYNTAX I slowed still more, my shadow pacing me, dragging its head through the weeds that hid the fence.-William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury In this sentence, form imitates meaning. How does Faulkner slow the sentence down, reinforcing the sentences meaning? How would this impact the sentence? I slowed still more. My shadow paced me and dragged its head through the weed-obscured fence.
Write a sentence that expresses reluctance. Use at least two phrases and one subordinate clause to reinforce the meaning of your sentence. SYNTAX Darkness came. There was no moon. Clouds hid the stars. The contours of things became hard to distinguish. Everything disappeared, the sea, the lifeboat, my own body. The sea was quiet and there was hardly any wind, so I couldnt even ground myself in sound. I seemed to be floating in pure, abstract blackness. I kept my eyes fixed on where I thought the horizon was, while my ears were on guard for any sign of animals. I couldnt imagine lasting the night. p. 118 Life of Pi 1. What type of grammatical structures are present in this paragraph and what is the effect of these structures?
2. What type of sentence is the fifth sentence, and what effect does it have on the text? 3. Identify and describe specific textual details that convey the setting. 4. Identify and describe details, diction, or syntax that reveals the narrators perspective. TONE Tone is the writers or speakers attitude towards their subject, audience, or self; it is the emotional meaning of a work. When a person is speaking, it is easy to notice the tone of his or her voice. An author must rely on other techniques to show tone: diction, detail, images, and syntax. Diction, detail, imagery, and syntax create the authors tone. Tone is the key to
understanding the authors intentions and feelings. TONE IS NOT MOOD. It is important to describe the tone in as precise of diction as possible. The tone can never be happy but instead elated, pleased friendly An analysis of tone will depend on our precise and accurate understanding of the authors attitude toward THE SUBJECT and THE AUDIENCE. TONE DIDLS D-diction (word choice) I-imagery (vivid appeal to the senses) D-detail (concrete and literal facts) L-language (the overall use of language in the entire piece, not just isolated diction as with connotation. These words qualify how a work is written, not tone, or attitude.
Some examples are: jargon, scholarly, informal, precise, literal, colloquial, formal, picturesque, obscure) S-Syntax (sentence structure) TONE And I start to play. It was so beautiful. I was so caught up in how lovely I looked that at first I didnt worry how I would sound. So it was a surprise to me when I hit the first wrong note and I realized something didnt sound quite right. And then I hit another and another followed that. A chill started at the top of my head and began to trickle down. Yet I couldnt stop playing, as though my hands were bewitched. I kept thinking my fingers would adjust themselves back, like a train switching to the right track. I played this strange jumble through two repeats, the sour notes staying with me all the
way to the end. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club 1. How does the narrators attitude toward her performance change in the passage? 2. How does the authors use of detail, diction, and imagery reveal the narrators changing attitude? TONE Shug come over and she and Sofia hug. Shug say, Girl, you look like a good time, you do. That when I notice that Shug talk and act sometimes like a man. Men say stuff like that to women, Girl, you look like a good time. Women always talk bout hair and health. How many babies living or dead, or got teef. Not bout how some woman they hugging on look like a good time. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
1. What is the speakers attitude toward Shug? 2. Walker repeats the phrase, look like a good time, three times in the passage. How does this use of repetition help create the tone of the passage? TONE It rained all night. I had a horrible, sleepless time of it. It was noisy. On the rain catcher the rain made a drumming sound, and around me, coming from the darkness beyond, it made a hissing sound, as if I were at the centre of a great nest of angry snakes. Shifts in the wind changed the direction of th the rain so that the parts of me that were beginning to feel warm were soaked anew. I shifted the rain catcher, only to be unpleasantly surprised a few minutes later when the wind changed once more. I tried to keep a small part of me dry and warm, around my chest, where I had placed the survival
manual, but the wetness spread with perverse determination. I spent the whole night shivering with cold. I worried constantly that the raft would come apart, that the knots holding me to the lifeboat would become loose, that a shark would attack. With my hands I checked the knots and lashings incessantly, trying to read them the way a blind man would read Braille. pp. 156-157 Life of Pi
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