Author's Disposition

First Body Paragraph: author's disposition (perspective, bias, tone)

Disposition: a person's inherent qualities of mind and character, person's outlook

How does the author present his or her disposition or inherent mindset on the topic(s)? Is there an inherent bias in the author?Does the bias distort the truth in some way? What influences may have impacted the delivery of the message such as historically, politically, socially, or economically? Is there a clear tone? What tone shifts are seen through the text?


The tone of an author or narrator is the attitude that is conveyed about the subject that is being described. Consider the words the author uses to evoke a reaction out of a reader or how you think he or she feels about the subject. Look for tone shifts throughout the work to see how the language of the writer shapes meaning.

  • The author describes ____ with a ____ tone in order to show _____.

  • The author's tone shifts from ____ to ____ when discussing _____.

  • The author conveys the attitude of the character as _______ in this scene when ____.

  • The narrator's attitude becomes _______ when ____.

  • The narrator shifts the tone in this scene from ______ to ______ in order to show _____.

How does the author convey his attitude in the work through his language? Are there significant tone shifts, and how do they contribute to the main ideas?

negative tones: melancholy, caustic, irate, satiric, critical, indignant, bitter, condescending, judgmental

positive tones: reverent, light hearted, optimistic, hopeful, loving, jovial

neutral tones:reminiscent wistful, apathetic, speculative, meditative, objective, reflective

Consider some of the TONE WORD LISTS online for ideas:


Bias in the media can occur through:

  • Selection & Omission--choosing to tell only parts of the story

  • Placement-- where the story appears in the newspaper or during news hour or on a website

  • Headlines-- often crafted to catch attention and sell papers rather than report facts

  • Word Choice and Tone--using sensational and emotional words to dramatize the events

  • Photos/Captions/Camera Angles --making one person look good and another bad, for example

  • Names & Titles --calling a person a “bad guy” instead of by his name, for example

  • Statistics & Crowd Counts--dramatizing numbers for effect

  • Source Control--using information or sources that only show or support one side of a story

  • You also want to consider the source: Is it a more liberal (left-leaning) source or a conservative (right-leaning) source or is it more in the center. Check out for a chart.