Barbara P.
Barbara P.

What is Mood in literature? Definition, Usage and Examples

12 min read

Published on: Jun 19, 2023

Last updated on: Jun 19, 2023

Mood in literature

On This Page On This Page

Have you ever wondered why certain stories make your heart race, send shivers down your spine, or fill you with joy? 

It's all thanks to the power of mood in literature. 

In this blog, we'll take you on an adventure through the enchanting world of mood. Join us as we unravel the art of crafting emotions through words. 

Discover how authors skillfully manipulate atmospheres and ignite unforgettable feelings that linger long after the final page. 

Let's embark on this captivating journey together!

Definition of Mood in Literature?

The mood in literature refers to the emotional atmosphere or tone that is created within a literary work. 

It is the way in which an author evokes certain feelings or emotions in readers through their choice of words, imagery, and overall writing style. 

The mood sets the overall ambiance of the story and influences how readers experience and interpret the narrative.

Authors carefully craft the mood to establish a specific emotional environment that aligns with the themes, settings, and events of their work.

For example, a suspenseful mystery novel may have a dark and foreboding mood. While a light-hearted romantic comedy might have a cheerful and playful mood. 

The mood can be somber, joyful, eerie, suspenseful, peaceful, or any other emotional quality that the author intends to convey.

Types Of Mood In Literature

In literature, various types of moods can be evoked to convey different emotions and set the tone for the story. 

Here are some common types of moods found in literature:

  • Suspenseful
  • Joyful
  • Angry
  • hopeful
  • Lonely
  • Cheerful
  • Gloomy
  • Mysterious
  • Romantic
  • Frightening
  • Whimsical
  • Serene
  • nervous
  • peaceful

It's important to note that a literary work may encompass multiple moods or transition between different moods to create a dynamic and engaging narrative.

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

How Do The Writers Establish Mood?

The mood in literature is composed of several key elements that work together to create a distinct emotional atmosphere within a literary work. 

These elements include:

Word Choice

The selection of specific words by an author can have a profound impact on the mood of a literary piece.

Certain words carry connotations and evoke particular emotions. 

Example: "The moon cast eerie shadows on the desolate, abandoned house."

In this sentence, the words "eerie" and "desolate" contribute to a mood of mystery and isolation.


Vivid and descriptive imagery plays a significant role in shaping the mood. 

Authors use sensory details to paint a picture in the reader's mind, appealing to their senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.

By carefully selecting and crafting imagery, authors can intensify the emotional impact of a scene.

Example: "The scent of blooming flowers filled the air, while birdsong echoed through the tranquil forest."


The physical and emotional environment in which a story takes place greatly influences the mood. 

The time, place, and overall atmosphere of the setting contribute to the overall emotional tone of the narrative. 

Example: "In the dimly lit dungeon, the prisoner's heart pounded with fear as he listened to the distant creak of rusty chains."


The author's tone, which is the attitude or perspective conveyed through their writing, can strongly affect the mood. 

The tone can be formal, informal, serious, humorous, or any other quality that influences the emotional response of the reader. 

A consistent tone throughout a work helps establish and maintain the desired mood.

Example: "She whispered sweet nothings into his ear, her voice as soft as a summer breeze."

Figurative Language

Literary devices such as metaphors, similes, and personification can contribute to the mood by creating vivid comparisons. Figurative language allows authors to evoke emotions indirectly and heighten the impact of their words.

Example: "Her anger erupted like a volcano, spewing fiery words that burned bridges."

Narrative Structure and Pacing

The way a story is structured and the pacing of events also impact the mood. A fast-paced narrative with intense action sequences can create a mood of excitement or suspense. 

While a slower and more reflective pace may evoke a contemplative or nostalgic mood.

Example: "With each passing second, his heart raced faster, the suspense building to an unbearable crescendo."

Character Emotions and Dialogue

The emotions expressed by characters and their dialogue can contribute to the overall mood of a literary work. Characters' feelings and interactions with one another can help establish and reinforce the emotional atmosphere.

Example: "Her tearful voice trembled as she whispered, 'I never want to see you again.'"

Examples Of Mood In Literature

Given below are some compelling examples of mood in literature:

Example 1: Excerpt from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

"Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill."

  • Explanation of Mood Usage

In this excerpt, Harper Lee creates a nostalgic and anticipatory mood. The mention of summer brings forth a sense of warmth and joy. 

The vivid descriptions of sleeping on the porch, the treehouse, and the abundance of delicious food evoke a feeling of carefree happiness. 

The focus on Dill, a cherished friend, intensifies the nostalgic tone, as the narrator reflects on past summers filled with adventure and companionship. 

Overall, the mood conveys a longing for the simple joys and bonds of childhood summers.

Example 2: Excerpt from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful because there isn't any. 

You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'Fuck you' right under your nose."

  • Explanation of Mood Usage

This excerpt from "The Catcher in the Rye" establishes a cynical and disillusioned mood. 

The narrator expresses a sense of frustration and disillusionment with the world, suggesting that peace and tranquility are merely illusions. 

The abruptness and vulgar language used in the concluding sentence further emphasize the jaded perspective of the narrator.

Example 3: Excerpt from "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."

  • Explanation of Mood Usage

In this excerpt, F. Scott Fitzgerald creates an optimistic and rejuvenating mood. The description of sunshine and vibrant foliage evokes a sense of vitality and growth.

The comparison to fast movies suggests a feeling of excitement and anticipation. The narrator's conviction that life is starting anew with the arrival of summer conveys a hopeful and optimistic outlook.

Order Essay

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Tone Vs. Mood In Literature

Tone and mood are two distinct literary elements that contribute to the overall atmosphere of a literary work. 

While they are interconnected, it's important to understand their differences.

Mood Vs Atmosphere In Literature

Mood and atmosphere are closely related elements in literature that contribute to the overall feel and emotional impact of a literary work. 

Mood refers to the emotional atmosphere or feeling created by the author through descriptive language, imagery, and the overall narrative style.

On the other hand, atmosphere refers to the broader sensory environment or ambiance established by the author. 

It encompasses the physical, social, and cultural surroundings that contribute to the overall mood. 

Atmosphere is created through the author's use of setting, and descriptive elements. Such as weather, sounds, smells, and the overall tone of the narrative.

Tips For Creating Mood In Writing

Creating the right mood in writing is essential for engaging readers and immersing them in the story. Here are some tips to help you effectively evoke mood in your writing:

  • Choose The Right Words

Select descriptive and evocative words that align with the intended mood. Consider the connotations and emotional impact of your word choices. Use vivid language such as metaphor and personification to paint a clear picture in the reader's mind.

  • Utilize Sensory Details

Engage the reader's senses by incorporating sensory details such as sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Describing sensory experiences helps transport readers into the scene and intensifies the mood you wish to create.

  • Set The Scene With Imagery

Use powerful and vivid imagery to create a strong sense of place and atmosphere. Paint a visual picture with your words. Allow readers to visualize the surroundings and feel the mood through the imagery you evoke.

  • Consider Pacing And Sentence Structure

Vary the pacing of your writing to match the mood. Short, fast-paced sentences can create tension and excitement. While longer, flowing sentences can evoke a more relaxed or contemplative mood.

  • Harness The Power Of Dialogue

Dialogue can reveal emotions and contribute to the overall mood. Craft dialogue that reflects the characters' feelings and aligns with the atmosphere you want to create.

  • Employ Figurative Language

Metaphors, onomatopoeia, and other forms of figurative language can heighten the emotional impact and contribute to the mood. Compare objects or actions to something else, creating associations that deepen the reader's understanding and emotional connection.

  • Consider The Power Of Setting

The setting plays a crucial role in setting the mood. Describe the physical environment, including details about the time of day, weather, and surroundings. The setting should align with and support the desired mood, enhancing the reader's immersion in the story.

  • Use Symbolism And Motifs

Incorporate symbolic elements or recurring motifs that contribute to the mood and reinforce thematic elements. Symbolism can evoke deeper emotions and enrich the reader's experience, enhancing the overall mood of the writing.

  • Show, Don't Tell

Instead of explicitly stating the mood, show it through actions, behaviors, and sensory details. Allow readers to experience the mood firsthand through the characters' experiences and the world you've created.

In conclusion, the mood in literature is a powerful tool that authors use to evoke emotions,and immerse readers in their stories. 

By carefully considering elements such as tone, setting, and symbolism, writers can effectively shape the mood of their works. 

The reader's emotional journey, guided by the author's words, enhances the overall experience and brings the story to life.

If you're looking for assistance with your own writing endeavors, consider reaching out to 

Our team of expert writers can provide top-quality content tailored to your specific requirements. 

Visit the best “write my essay” service today and let us help you achieve excellence in your writing journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the relationship between mood and emotion in a short story?

Mood and emotion are closely intertwined in a short story. The mood refers to the general feeling or atmosphere that the author creates. On the other hand, emotions pertain to the specific feelings evoked in the reader.

How does the subject matter impact the mood of a story?

The subject matter plays a crucial role in setting the mood of a story. Different themes and topics evoke distinct emotions and moods. The subject matter provides the foundation for the author to create and develop the desired mood throughout the narrative.

Can the reader feel different emotions within the same work of literature?

Absolutely! A well-crafted work of literature can evoke a range of emotions in the reader. While the overall mood of a story may be consistent, individual scenes, characters, or plot developments can elicit various emotions. 

Barbara P.


Barbara P. (Literature)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Keep reading

Literary Writing Guides 19 min read

Exploring Literary Devices: A Beginner's Guide

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 12 min read

Learn How to Use Allusion in Writing with Examples

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 9 min read

Allegory Explained: Meaning, Types, & Examples

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 13 min read

Euphemism: A Comprehensive Guide

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 9 min read

A Comprehensive Guide to Analogy In Literary Comparisons

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 16 min read

The Alliteration Handbook - Everything You Need to Know

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 12 min read

Satire Explained -Types, Examples, and Tips

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 12 min read

Hyperbole As A Literary Device: Types & Examples

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 23 min read

Sounding Out Onomatopoeia: A Beginner's Guide

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 12 min read

Oxymoron: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 14 min read

Imagery in Writing: Examples of Imagery as a Literary Device

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 8 min read

Guide to Metaphor - Definition and Examples

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 14 min read

The Art of Antithesis: Elevate Your Writing with Contrast

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 9 min read

Symbolism: Definition, Usage, and Examples in Literature and Beyond!

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 11 min read

Chiasmus - A Complete Guide with Examples

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 10 min read

How Foreshadowing Sets the Tone and Keeps Readers Hooked

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 17 min read

A Comprehensive Guide to Personification with Examples

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 12 min read

Colloquialism in Writing: Speak Your Reader's Language

Mood in literature
Literary Writing Guides 12 min read

Puns in Writing: The Art of Verbal Juggling

Mood in literature