Analyzing this short poem by Emily Brontë for mood and tone would be a great warmup for an advanced English class. You could create a slide using the above image, and then provide the text in an easier to read format.
All hushed and still within the house;
Without – all wind and driving rain;
But something whispers to my mind,
Through rain and through the wailing wind,
Never again? Why not again?
Memory has power as real as thine.
I suggest reading the poem together as a class, first for meaning. What is the poem about?
Then, read the poem a second and third time, to decipher mood and tone.
Remind your students the difference between mood and tone.
Mood = The feeling that the audience gets from reading the poem.
Tone = The author’s attitude toward the poem.
Put simply, mood is how the reader feels and tone is how the author feels.
Student answers will vary, but you can guide them by suggesting the following:
Mood is established through use of words/phrases like: hushed and still; wind and driving rain; wailing wind; never again
Tone is established through use of words/phrases like: without; whispers to my mind; why not never again?
Help students to observe that on the surface, a storm is raging. But inside, Emily Brontë is still, quiet, and questioning. She is mourning some sort of loss and reflecting on a memory. Thus, the mood is dark and stormy, while the tone is sad and reflective.
If you’d like your students to do a written response, try having them any or all of these questions:
- What is the mood of the poem?
- Does the mood change over the course of the poem? Why did the poet create said change?
- What strategies does the poet use to convey the mood?
- What is the tone of the poem? Does the poet agree, disagree, admire, ridicule, or condemn the subject of the poem? What is the reason?
- How does word choice affect the tone of the poem?
- What strategies does the poet use to convey the tone?