* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Emma

Emma

by Jane Austen

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Ironically Sympathetic (Or sympathetically ironic. Take your pick.)

Austen’s tone and style are directly linked to her narrator’s voice (see "Point of View/Narrative Voice" above for more on this). As we said earlier, Austen’s narrator seems to truly love her characters, but she’s not above poking some fun at all their faults. As a famous old critic from the '40s once said, we learn to love characters for their bad manners; Austen’s tone gently mocks all the silly social conventions which characters take to heart. She gets the most fun out of showing us moments when good manners and a character’s own freaks of temperament collide. Take Mr. Woodhouse, for example: he’s determined to be a good host at all times – but he’s also certain that tasty food will kill his guests. Serving gruel to everyone who comes to his house seems like a nice way to resolve this tension, right?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement