The tone of a literary work is the attitude that the author harbors towards it. It is the tone of the work―be it grave, light-hearted, critical, or witty―which reveals the author’s intent and emotions to the reader. It goes a long way in helping the reader understand the context.
The tone may vary from sentence to sentence, just like in the case of a regular conversation. It also differs over the course of chapters, when a story begins on a light note, but gets darker in progression; a notable pattern in suspense novels. We can also observe the change in tone within a book series like Harry Potter, where each part went on to be more serious than the previous one, as the characters aged.
Here are some examples to help you understand the concept better.
In this instance, one can actually sense the desperation of the sender. This is also accompanied by a bit of irritation, or perhaps even anger for not knowing the whereabouts of the person it’s sent to.
In this case, it is very easy to feel the genuine warmth from the sender, along with a sense of gratitude, of course. The politeness in the tone also makes it rather charming.
❝The engagement is announced between Benedict, son of Wanda and Timothy Cumberbatch of London, and Sophie, daughter of Katharine Hunter of Edinburgh and Charles Hunter of London.❞
British heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch took the slightly unconventional route by announcing his engagement through a classified advert in The Times. Its tone remains noticeably British―rather curt, and completely devoid of Hollywood-esque shenanigans.