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Tone & Mood Literary Words: Definitions & Examples

Difference Between Mood and Tone

❶A simple definition of mood's general meaning. Mood—also known as atmosphere—is the overall feeling for the audience an author creates in his writing.

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We read people's body language, tone, facial expressions and actions to determine their overall demeanor. Did you ever realize we perform the same analysis while reading? We process character behavior in a similar way, but we must rely on descriptions and imagery to make our judgments.

Let's take a look at the literary terms mood and tone and see how they help readers shape stories in their minds. An author or character's tone is defined by their attitude. The tone could be formal, such as with a piece of persuasive writing geared toward a cause, or informal where a character may be speaking in a sarcastic way to show their frustration.

Tone reflects how an author or character says something and the emotional intention behind their words. In the novel, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda Sordino is facing her first year in high school but, after some trouble at a summer party, Melinda is the most hated girl in the school. She becomes depressed and withdrawn, but as time passes, we see Melinda begin to change. I'm on a roll.

I don't know what it is; standing up to Heather, planting marigold seeds, or maybe the look on Mom's face when I asked if she would let me redecorate my room.

The time has come to arm-wrestle some demons. Too much sun after a Syracuse winter does some strange things to your head, makes you feel strong, even if you aren't. And strong she has become. You can feel it in her words; she is finally starting to take care of herself and stop listening to all of her bullies.

Her tone here is positive, confident, and hopeful. Speaking of teenage angst, we feel a different tone in the play, Antigone by Sophocles, when Antigone, another young girl, is caught breaking the law. King Creon questions Antigone, but her attitude is not remorseful.

If you read this as a teenager speaking sarcastically to a parent, you are dead on. Antigone's tone is sarcastic, intended to anger her uncle and show her lack of remorse for defending her brother's right to a traditional burial.

An author uses tone, along with other literary devices, to create the mood of a piece. Mood is sometimes referred to as the atmosphere of a piece of literature. Mood evokes feelings in the reader by using certain words and images to provide the reader a particular perspective. In the short story The Monkey's Paw, Edgar Allen Poe creates an eerie mood and builds suspense by prolonging the outcome of an event. In this scene, a mother and father have just wished their son back from the dead.

The two wait and see if their wish will come true. A stair creaked, and a squeaky mouse scurried noisily through the wall. The darkness was oppressive, and after lying for some time screwing up his courage, he took the box of matches, and striking one, went downstairs for a candle. At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he paused to strike another, and at the same moment a knock, so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.

The matches fell from his hand and spilled in the passage. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated. Get access risk-free for 30 days, just create an account. Poe makes the reader feel uneasy as the man gets up from bed. The descriptions make us wonder if the dead son is at the door. We feel the darkness surround us as we walk down the stairs, and want to look over our shoulder to see if something, or someone is there.

Building suspense helps create the mood of a scene. Once in the games, the tension builds and the suspense grows until the very end, leaving the reader wondering if Katniss will make it out alive. In the passage below, the Gamemakers have just unleashed a wall of fire in the arena, forcing Katniss and the other tributes together:.

In a matter of minutes, my throat and nose are burning. The coughing begins soon after and my lungs begin to feel as if they are actually being cooked. Discomfort turns to distress until each breath sends a searing pain through my chest Crouching on my hands and knees, I retch until there is nothing left to come up.

We feel for Katniss and, because of the imagery in the scene, we feel the lack of oxygen and panic. The mood is panic and pain, which Katniss herself is trying to get away from. When reading anything from fiction to nonfiction, comic strip to literary classic, mood and tone will always be present.

Tone is the attitude of a writer or character. Mood is the feeling we get while reading a passage or scene, sometimes known as the atmosphere of a piece. These two devices work together to help the reader understand the character's feelings and the overall message of the piece. Since we cannot interact with the characters or author, we need clear descriptions, imagery and context to help us create vivid images in our minds and feel the experiences of the characters.

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Students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. In literature, mood is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions. Usually, mood is referred to as the atmosphere of a literary piece, as it creates an emotional setting that surrounds the readers. Mood is developed in a literary piece through various methods, including setting, theme , tone , and diction.

Let us see how writers use the afore-mentioned elements in their literary works to create a particular mood. Setting is the physical location in a piece of literature that provides background in which the events of the narrative take place. A particular setting not only provides support to the contents of the story, but also sets the mood of the readers. Let us analyze a few examples of mood developed using a setting:. Emily Bronte, in Wuthering Heights , creates two contrasting moods through two contrasting settings.

The events of the narrative takes place in two neighboring houses: When we tell stories from everyday life to others, we always do so with some sort of attitude toward the story. For example, if someone had gotten flowers from a potential suitor and was retelling this to a friend, that person would tell very different stories depending on his or her feelings toward the suitor.

Consider these opposite tones when dealing with the same type of situation:. The tone that an author uses greatly influences what kind of story he or she tells and how the audience perceives it. For example, there have been multitudes of books and movies produced about World War II. The tones used in the different pieces range quite a bit, however. Here are four works of literature set during WWII, and how their differing examples of tone lead to vastly different works:. The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.

In this early excerpt from The Scarlet Letter , Hawthorne describes a new colony that hopes to be a Utopia, yet first constructs a cemetery and a prison. These are two things that one might assume a Utopia would not need, and thus the author sets up expectations that things will not go as the citizens of the town hope.

It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. At times he is in great admiration of Jay Gatsby, while at others times he scorns the wastefulness and foolishness of the upper class.

After he passes the summer in their company his tone has changed so that he is not in admiration of their lifestyle at all anymore. Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return.

Mood Definition

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Mood Definition In literature, mood is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions. Usually, mood is referred to as the atmosphere of a literary piece, as it creates an emotional .

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Definition of Mood As a literary device, mood is the emotional feeling or atmosphere that a work of literature produces in a reader. All works of literature produce some sort of emotional and psychological effect in the audience; though every reader may respond differently to the same work of literature there is often a similar type of mood produced.

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Summary: Mood Literary Definition Define mood in literature: The definition of mood in literature is the overall feeling and author creates for his audience. Mood is the atmosphere the text creates. Set the Mood. An author creates mood to help develop the setting of a story, the characters’ roles in the story, and the emotional response the reader should have for the events taking place. The mood can create suspense, fear, happiness, anger, or tranquility.

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The following examples of mood are from different types of literature: plays, novels, and poems. In each, we identify how the author builds the mood of the work using a combination of setting, imagery, tone, diction, and plot. In essays and other literary works, mood is the dominant impression or emotional atmosphere evoked by the text. Here are some examples from other texts. Mood in Composition and Literature The glossary of grammatical and rhetorical terms. Share Flipboard Email A Definition of Gothic Literature.