From To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapters 11-15
1. List one example of tone and discuss how it has created meaning/significance
2. List 2 examples of literary devices and discuss their meanings and importance
Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, or many other possible attitudes.
In a literary work, tone applies to the attitudes toward the subject as well as toward the audience. In Chapter 13 in which Aunt Alexandra arrives, Scout narrates with a liberal sprinkling of irony to her words. For instance,
She never let a chance escape her to point out the shortcomings of other tribal groups to the greater glory of our own, a habit that amused Jem rather than annoyed him: "Aunty better watch how she talks--scratch most folks in Maycomb and they're kin to us."
Clearly, there is a mocking tone to Jem's words and Scout's narration in this chapter. In another passage, Scout mentions the tale of her cousin Joshua who "went round the bend at the University" and attempted to shoot the president. But, later, Atticus is sent by his sister to impress upon the children that they "are not from run-of-the-mill people." [double entendre here?] Near the end of the chapter, Scout casts some further ironic aspersions on Aunt Alexandra by observing that "Aunt Alexandra fitted into the world of Maycomb like a hand into a glove...."
2. Literary devices used in Chapters 11-15:
- irony - Chapter 13, as explained above.
- double entendre - this figure of speech involves wording that is done so that a phrase can be understood in either of two ways, thus having a double meaning. "not run-of-the-mill-people" means for Aunt Alexandra that the Finch family is above the common people (common=lower classes). But, ironically, it can also mean that with someone like Uncle Joshua, the Finches are, indeed, very different from ordinary people.
- metaphor - In Chapter 13, Atticus tells Scout and Jem that their Cousin Joshua "went round the bend." This metaphoric expression means that someone at least temporarily went insane.
- metaphor - In Chapter 14, Scout is scolded by her father, who tells her to obey Calpurnia; afterwards, Scout tries to retire "with a shred of dignity." Shred is a metaphor for Scout's feeling very humiliated.
- figurative language - In Chapter 14, Scout narrates that her father "retreated behind his newspaper" and "Aunt Alexandra was worrying her embroidery." By using "retreated" and "worrying" Scout indicates that they are not really thinking about the activities in which they are engaged; instead, there is something that troubles both of them. But, these colorful verbs generate a mental picture that effectively communicates the intentions of the narrator.