Tone and point of view are both literary concepts, which provide the reader with an understanding of the author’s meaning of a story. Tone represents the writer’s attitude toward the material, the readers or both. Tone can be angry, ironic, serious, depressed, etc. Through the use of tone, the reader can understand the personality of the narrator. Point of view is the perspective from which the story is told.Point of view can be represented in first person, omniscient narrator, camera’s eye point of view and objective point of view, these are only a few types of point of view.
Once the reader understands these concepts, he can understand the author’s intent and meaning. In the story, “There Will come Soft Rains,” the point of view is third person omniscient. This means the reader sees the story not through the character’s eyes, but through all of the views. The tone is ominous, fateful, and ironic.It’s ironic, because Ray Bradbury depicts the story through many adjectives, as well as personification. “An aluminum wedge scraped them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea,” (Bradbury). For example, Bradbury describes a perfect house, but then the reader finds out everyone is dead.
“The morning house lay empty,”(Bradbury). “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles,”(Bradbury).Bradbury uses the point of view and tone together to describe the irony in this story. Julio Cortazar’s story, “House Taken Over,” has the point of view of first person limited, which allows the reader to see from one person’s specific point of view. The tone is flat, resigned, and very detached.
The point Cortazar was trying to get across was that the modern world today, may become like this house. Our world could be taken over, and we wouldn’t even care. “ ‘In that case,’ she said, picking up her knitting again, ‘we’ll have to live on this side. I sipped at the mate very carefully, but she took her time starting her work again. I remember it was a gray vest she was knitting. I liked that vest,” (Cortazar). Once their house is taken over, they just move on barely acknowledging it.
In our world, this could be like our democracy taking over, and we do nothing about it. Because Cortazar used first person, the reader only sees the world and the story as the character sees it. The detached tone and first person point of view presents a somewhat alienated and self-consumed character.The tone and point of view work together in this story to predict a possible future where we will become detached from our own world. In the story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway uses a camera’s eye point of view. This point of view causes the reader to feel detached from the story, and the reader must make inferences about what is going on. The tone is detached and worldly.
A camera’s eye point of view doesn’t put the reader “in the story” and often makes it difficult to comprehend what is happening. “ ‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. It’s not really an operation at all,’ “(Hemmingway). Hemmingway uses a worldly tone in conjunction with a camera’s eye point of view because it may be too complicated to understand for the reader, even though it’s an interesting story. In conclusion, the previous examples represent how tone and point of view can play an important role in the story. Without tone and point of view, a story could not come to life for a reader. In that way, the two depend on each other.
They work together to create an environment for the reader’s imagination.
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