Study Guide

Hard Love Tone

By Ellen Wittlinger

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Leave it to John to make even The Sound of Music all gloom and doom. Not familiar with the story? Let's just say that the characters successfully escape from the Nazis. Usually this calls for some rejoicing… but not to hear John tell it. He says:

For some reason that song about following rainbows and finding your dreams made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I reminded myself Maria was only Violet Neville looking brave in a dumb hairdo, the captain was Vincent Brazwell carrying a small freshman on his back, and the Nazis were mostly kids who couldn't act very well. Brian was already poking me in the ribs. (7.2)

Dang, John—cheer up already. Also, way to shatter the illusion.

Even when John is enjoying himself, he points out negative aspects of whatever's taking place. He can't simply say, "I saw the play and it was good." Nope, instead he has to give us the depressing version. And this pretty much sums up the tone throughout the entire book. Since John isn't happy with his life, the tone dresses to match.

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