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 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.

Creating Mood through Setting

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:

Example #1: Pickwick Papers (By Charles Dickens)

Charles Dickens creates a calm and peaceful mood in his novel Pickwick Papers:

“The river, reflecting the clear blue of the sky, glistened and sparkled as it flowed noiselessly on.”

The depiction of idyllic scenery imparts a serene and non-violent mood to the readers.

Example #2: Wuthering Heights (By Emily Bronte)

Emily Bronte, in Wuthering Heights, creates two contrasting moods through two contrasting settings. The events of the narrative takes place in two neighboring houses: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. A depressing mood is created whenever Wuthering Heights is described. For example, in chapter 12 the narrator says:

“There was no moon, and everything beneath lay in misty darkness: not a light gleamed from any house, far or near all had been extinguished long ago: and those at Wuthering Heights were never visible…”

On the contrary, the description of Thrushcross Grange creates a calm and peaceful mood:

“Gimmerton chapel bells were still ringing; and the full, mellow flow of the beck in the valley came soothingly on the ear. It was a sweet substitute for the yet absent murmur of the summer foliage, which drowned that music about the Grange when the trees were in leaf.”

The contrast presented in the settings also helps in the development of the different characters. The people from Wuthering Heights are unsophisticated, while those from Thrushcross Grange are refined.

Creating Mood through Tone

The manner in which a writer approaches this theme and subject is called the tone. The readers always rely on the writer’s point of view of the events taking place in a story. They observe the story through his eyes. They feel the way the writer feels about the events taking place and the description provided. Therefore, the attitude of the writer evokes feelings and emotions in the readers.

Example #3: The Road Not Taken (By Robert Frost)

For instance, see how Robert Frost, in his poem The Road Not Taken, creates a gloomy feeling through his tone:

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Frost informs us about his past with a “sigh” that gives the above lines an unhappy tone and thus evokes an unhappy mood. An unhappy mood is created because the poet convinces us that he regrets a choice he made in the past.

Creating Mood through Diction

Diction is the choice of words a writer uses. Diction or choice of words conveys deep feelings, and depicts the events, places, and characters in a literary work in specific colors, having an effect on the way the readers feel about them.

Example #4: Gulliver’s Travel (By Jonathon Swift)

The following lines from Jonathon Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is one of the great mood examples created using diction:

“And being no stranger to the art of war, I have him a description of cannons, culverins, muskets, carabines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, sea-fights…”

In order to create feelings of disgust in readers, for the destructive consequences of war, the writer chooses words that are unmelodious, harsh, and jarring. The diction in the above passage corresponds with the subject matter.

Function of Mood

Mood helps in creating an atmosphere in a literary work by means of setting, theme, diction, and tone. It evokes various emotional responses in readers, and thus ensures their emotional attachment to the literary piece they read. Once the readers are emotionally stirred, they fully comprehend the message that the writer tries to convey to them.

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11 comments for “Mood

  1. Kai
    October 25, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    This really helped thanks 🙂

    • aliya
      January 14, 2016 at 7:31 am

      i love this writing thank you so much

    • aliya
      February 13, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      this is best mood ever thank you so much thank you

  2. Courage S.D. Walker
    October 30, 2015 at 7:49 am

    I really feel good whenever I hear people discussing literature, Because my father is a good literature and English instructor and two when I was quizzing I really used to answer question from literature most especially from literary devices so I want to be thankful to you people for that great work and words whenever it come to literature. Thanks.

    • lester
      November 2, 2015 at 4:28 am

      hey there! I would really need some help because where making our thesis about literary devices, and I would really appreciate if you could help us in some things we’re lacking information of. Thank’s in advance 🙂

    • Brend
      November 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Thank you for sharing

  3. Brenda
    November 13, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Thank you sooooo much for this website. I am interested in writing and not sure should I do poetry or a book or both and. I took a step to research and read. 🙂 It should help me find what type of devices I use and help me understand more of why I am all over the the place when I write. I love it. It is very helpful!!!

  4. Weston
    December 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks, very helpful for my school project. We have to create a literary terms dictionary. So far I have used entirely this website. It has everything!!!

    • S
      December 10, 2015 at 11:36 pm

      Were doing that also. It really sucks, but this site has helped so much!

  5. Hoya camper
    December 31, 2015 at 6:30 am

    this helped me better than the teacher

  6. gaige
    January 6, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    this helped me a lot thanks

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