Using DIDLS to Analyze Tone in Fiction - Moore Public Schools
Using DIDLS to Analyze Tone in Fiction Diction/Syntax Imagery Details Language Structure DIDLS Diction and Syntax--the connotation of word choice; how structure affects the reader's attitude (e.g., short sentences are often emotional or assertive and longer sentences move toward more reasonable or scholarly intent) Images--vivid appeals to understanding through the senses Details--facts that are included or those omitted Language--the overall characteristics of the body of words used: formal, clinical Structure--how the piece is
structured: Chronological order; flashback; memory; conversation/dialogue; plot; setting Diction/Language Levels of Diction [Language] Diction=word choice Language=entire body of words used in a text Words can be monosyllabic (one syllable in length) or polysyllabic (more than one syllable in length). The higher the ratio of polysyllabic words, the more difficult the content. High, Formal Polysyllabic and elegant word choice "In the latter part of the last century there lived a man of science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural philosophy, who not long before our story opens had made experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any chemical one." Hawthorne "The Birthmark" Neutral: No elaborate words. "In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore. It was cold in the fall in Milan and the dark came very early." Hemingway "In Another Country" Informal, Low: Everyday language, common, simple "I know about Masenier because I was there. I seen him
die. We didnt tell anybody the truth because it seemed so shameful, the way he died. It was too awful to describe to other people. But I was there, even though I didnt want to be, and I seen it all." Gap Creek, Morgan Types of Diction Slang: informal, recently coined words "Block was firing a greasegun from the upper floor of a building designed by Emery Roth & Sons." "The Indian Uprising" Barthelme A "greasegun" is slang for a rapid-firing automatic pistol.
Colloquial Expressions: Non-standard, regional "When getting my nose in a book Cured most things short of school, It was worth ruining my eyes To know I could still keep cool, And deal out the old right hook To dirty dogs twice my size." Larkin, "A Study of Reading Habits" Types of Diction Jargon: characteristic of a trade, profession or pursuit E. E. Cummings uses automobile jargon in his poem: Dialect: non-standard
subgroup with its own vocabulary and grammatical features she being brand -new;and you know consequently a little stiff i was careful of her and(having thoroughly oiled the universal joint tested my gas felt of her radiator made sure her springs were O. K.)i went to it flooded-thecarburetor cranked her up,slipped the clutch." We Real Cool We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. Gwendolyn Brooks
Types of Diction Words can be concrete (specific) or abstract (general or conceptual). Words can be mainly denotative (containing an exact meaning, e.g., dress) or connotative (containing a suggested meaning, e.g., gown) Words can be euphonious (pleasant sounding, e.g., languid, murmur) or cacophonous (harsh sounding, e.g., raucous, croak). Syntax -- Sentence Structure To Analyze and Describe the sentence structure consider the following: 1. Examine the sentence length. Are the sentences telegraphic (shorter than 5 words in length), medium (approximately 18 words in length), or long and involved (30 words or more in length)? Does the sentence length fit the subject matter? What variety of lengths is present? Why is the sentence length effective?
2. Examine sentence beginnings. Is there a good variety or does a pattern emerge? 3. Examine the arrangement of ideas in a sentence. Are they set out in a special way for a purpose? 4. Examine the arrangement of ideas in a paragraph. Is there evidence of any pattern or structure? 5. Examine Sentence Patterns. A declarative (assertive) sentence makes a statement: e.g., The king is sick. An imperative sentence gives a command: e.g., Stand up. An interrogative sentence asks a question: e.g., Is the king sick? An exclamatory sentence makes an exclamation: e.g., The king is dead!
5. Examine Sentence Patterns. A simple sentence contains one subject and one verb: e.g., The singer bowed to her adoring audience. A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinate conjunction (and, but, or) or by a semicolon: e.g., The singer bowed to the audience, but she sang no encores. A complex sentence contains an independent clause and one or more subordinate clauses: e.g., You said that you would tell the truth. A compound-complex sentence contains two or more principal clauses and one or more subordinate clauses: e.g., The singer bowed while the audience applauded, but she sang no 5. Examine Sentence Patterns. A loose sentence makes complete sense if brought to a close before the actual ending: e.g., We reached
Edmonton/that morning/after a turbulent flight/and some exciting experiences. A periodic sentence makes sense only when the end of the sentence is reached: e.g., That morning, after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences, we reached Edmonton. In a balanced sentence, the phrases or clauses balance each other by virtue of their likeness of structure, meaning or length: e.g., He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. 5. Examine Sentence Patterns. Natural order of a sentence involves constructing a sentence so the subject comes before the predicate: e.g., Oranges grow in California. Inverted order of a sentence (sentence inversion) Involves constructing a sentence so the predicate comes before the subject e.g., In California grow oranges. This is a device in which normal sentence patterns are reversed to
create an emphatic or rhythmic effect. Split order of a sentence divides the predicate into tow parts with the subject coming in the middle: e.g., In California oranges grow. 5. Examine Sentence Patterns. Juxtaposition is a poetic and rhetorical device in which naturally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to each other, creating an effect of surprise and wit: e.g., The apparition of these faces in the crowd/ Petals on the wet, black bough. Parallel structure (parallelism refers to a grammatical or structural similarity between sentences or parts of a sentence. It involves an arrangement of words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs so that elements of equal importance are equally developed and similarly phrased: e.g., He was walking, running and jumping for joy. Repetition is a device in which words, sound and ideas are used more than once to enhance rhythm and create
emphasis: e.g., .government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A rhetorical question is a question that expects no answer. It is used to draw attention to a point and is generally stronger than a direct statement: e.g., If Mr. Farchaff is always fair, as you have said, why did he refuse to listen to Mrs. Baldwins arguments? Imagery Writers use language to create sensory impressions and to evoke specific responses to characters, objects, events, or situations in their works. The writer "shows" rather than "tells," thus allowing the reader to participate in the experience more fully. Therefore imagery helps to produce mood and tone. When reading a piece containing imagery, you need to ask yourself two questions What do I hear, taste, smell, or feel? What effect is the author trying to convey with these messages? Take a look at
the opening of the novel Pearl. Examine the excerpt for examples of imagery and think about how these images and sensory details contribute to meaning and effect. Why do you think Steinbeck chose to open his novel with these images and details? What kind of information do the images and details provide to the reader about the characters and the society? Kino awakened in the near dark.
The stars still shone and the day had drawn only a pale wash of light in the lower sky to the east. The roosters had been crowing for some time, and the early pigs were already beginning their ceaseless turning of twigs and bits of wood to see whether anything to eat had been overlooked. Outside the brush house in the tuna clump, a covey of little birds chattered and flurried with their wings. Kino's eyes opened, and he looked first at the lightening square which was the door and then he looked at the hanging box where Coyotito slept. And last he turned his head to Juana, his wife, who lay beside him on the mat, her blue shawl over her nose and over her breasts and around the small of her back. Juana's eyes were open too. Kino could never remember seeing them closed when he awakened. Her dark eyes made little reflected stars. She was looking at him as she was always looking at him when he awakened. Kino heard the little splash of morning waves on the beach. It was
very good--Kino closed his eyes Imagery Details: The facts given by the author or speaker as support for the attitude or tone. The speaker's perspective shapes what details are given. Look at the following passage from Tolkien's The Hobbit. Notice that the speaker's attitude toward the hobbits is
revealed in whimsical and compliment ary details. "I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which allows them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow naturally leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially
after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it). Now you know enough to go on with." J.R.R. Tolkein. The Hobbit. Ballantine Books, New York. Copyright 1937, 1938, 1966, p. 16. Details Structure Structure--how the piece is structured Below are a few of the factors which can influence the structure of the piece. Chronological order; Flashback; Memory; Conversation/Dialogue; Plot-exposition, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action, denouement; Setting; Introduction of characters; Interior Monologue
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