Tone is the author’s attitude towards the subject
In literature, the author’s style and treatment of the subject reflect his/her attitude about the subject as well as an attitude towards the audience.
Components of tone:
Understatement: casual or light treatment of the subject, it has two effects
shows that the author does not take a subject seriously
calls upon the moral indignation of the reader because the subject does not seem to be taken seriously.
Irony: a discrepancy between what is stated and what is suggested; saying one thing and meaning another.
Hyperbole: the opposite of understatement; exaggeration used for rhetorical effect: may be dramatic heightening.
The middle style: style used by most authors, lying between understatement and hyperbole; presents an accurate picture of things as they are.
Failures in tone
Sentimentality: author attempts to impose upon the material a greater emotional burden than it can comfortably bear.
Inhibition: author’s failure to give due emotional weight to his material.