Mood Definition In Literature

In literature, the mood is the emotional response a writer wants to give the reader in a creative, persuasive, or personal piece of writing. It’s all about feeling and is strangely hard to put into words for that reason. However, it creates an atmosphere and tells the reader how to feel about what they are reading.

It should not be confused with grammatical moods,  a technical writing feature in English rather than English literature.

What are examples of moods in literature?

The mood definition in literature can be pretty hard to grasp, as moods vary excellently between stories. You could even say that each text has an attitude that is unique to it. Here are some examples of moods that you might find while reading:

  • Calm and tranquil
  • Eerie and uncanny
  • Light-hearted
  • Tense and anxious
  • Rebellious
  • Farcical
  • Optimistic
  • Sentimental

As you can tell, the best way to describe moods is to be very specific with our language. When writing a book review, any note on the mood of a story should try to be as detailed as possible for the reasons given above.

What kinds of literature use mood?

Every text has a mood of some kind! Short stories and poetry will often have a consistent mood throughout, thanks to the short length. On the other hand, novels can include several moods because of their longer length.

Personal stories such as recounts can also have a specific mood dependent on the writer’s tone of voice. For example, if someone looks back on time as one of the most critical moments in their life, they would write with a mood reflecting this.

Persuasive writing can also use mood to evoke strong feelings in the listener or reader. For example, if a writer wants to convince you that animals should not be eaten, then a solemn mood would help get this across.

It’s worth noting that mood is different from the tone of voice. The tone of voice is how the author sounds in our head. Mood can be affected by the tone of voice, but it is more about the general feeling a text gives us when taking every element in.

How do you create a mood in literature?

The mood within the literature will depend on different variables. However, here are some to consider before diving into the topic:

  • Genre. Horrors have very different moods to dramas, but each mess can establish a different mood. ‘Dracula’ doesn’t read like ‘Coraline,’ for example.
  • Plot. The events in a story will impact how we react, but mood can make these moments read very differently. Roald Dahl is famous for undercutting dark material with humor.
  • Point-of-view. The personal voice of a character will affect how we read a story.
  • Sentence structure. Short, bare sentences can feel different from long, flowery ones.
  • Length. A paragraph summary will feel different from an epic journey.
  • Figurative Language. Techniques like metaphors, alliteration, and personification play a role here.
  • Vocabulary. The specific words that we use affect how something reads. It is the difference between saying ‘beautiful,’ ‘lovely,’ and ‘alluring,’ for example.
  • Setting. How a writer describes the setting will allow the reader to soak in the atmosphere, creating the most apparent use of mood in a story.
Choose your Reaction!