Explain how you can determine the tone of a story. Support your answer with examples from the story "The Necklace."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When we think of the tone of a piece of literature, we refer to the attitude a speaker or writer takes towards a subject, character or audience. Normally, a story's tone can be described in a single adjective, such as comic, grave or ironic. When we think of the great story "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant, it becomes clear that the overwhelming tone that the author wants us to take towards the character of Mathilde Loisel is one of irony. We see a complete transformation from the Mathilde Loisel of the beginning of the short story who "grieved incessantly" and would spend her time and energies in dreaming up incredible wealth:

Mme. Loisel appeared an old woman now. She became heavy, rough, harsh, like one of the poor. Her hair untended, her skirts askew, her hands red, her voice shrill, she even slopped water on her floors and scrubbed them herself.

The overwhelming ironic tone of the story becomes self-evident at the very end, when we realise that this transformation was all needless, because the "necklace" that Mathilde had borrowed from her friend and lost was actually fake and could have been replaced easily.

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