SSAT Reading Question 184: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 184

1. The author's tone is best described as

  • A. lighthearted
  • B. optimistic
  • C. nostalgic
  • D. hostile

Correct Answer: C


C is correct. Tone is the author’s attitude toward a topic. It is created through details and language. The sense of this poem is that the narrator has returned to a place he once knew and finds himself "now a stranger" and laments the fact that nothing is as it used to be: "Not the sun that used to be, Not the tides that used to run." The best description of this tone is nostalgic, meaning "sentimental" or "evidencing bittersweet longing for things of the past." Words such as "shadowy crown," "dark and haunted wood," and "alas" are not consistent with a lighthearted, optimistic, or humorous tone, so you can rule out choices A, B, and E. The author’s tone may be sad, but it is not hostile or angry as in choice D.

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