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Interactive Bible Study |Mental Health | What Is Mood?

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

Key Term: Mood- Mood is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions. As a literary device, mood is the emotional feeling or atmosphere that a work of literature produces in a reader.

What Makes Up a Mood? These are the basic elements that help determine the mood of a piece of writing:

  • Setting: A story's setting is where and when it takes place. The setting is one of the first things to be described in a narrative and therefore plays a major role in establishing the mood.

    • In the "dark and stormy night" example from above, the story's mood is established almost entirely by the setting (in this case, the weather and the time of day), which makes for a gloomy and potentially even frightening atmosphere.

    • A story that takes place in a cotton candy kingdom, by contrast, is likely to have a whimsical, cheerful, or light-hearted mood.

  • Imagery: Imagery is similar to setting in the sense that it helps to establish mood using descriptions of physical things in the world of the story. Not every image in a work will be indicative of the story's mood, but images that are repeated or described in detail usually do reflect the mood.

    • A poem that spends a lot of time describing babbling brooks, gentle rolling hills, and herds of sheep might have an idyllic mood.

    • A story with many roses, candlelight, and boxes of chocolates might be trying to establish a romantic mood.

  • Tone: Tone (or the attitude of a piece of writing) is closely related to mood: often, the tone and mood of a piece are similar or the same.

    • It wouldn't be unusual for a poem with a somber tone to have a somber mood—i.e., to make the reader feel somber.

    • A journalist who makes a jab at a politician might be conveying how they feel about their subject (using a critical tone) while also trying to influence their readers to feel similarly—i.e., creating a mood of anger or outrage.

  • Diction: The words that a writer chooses to use (i.e., diction) play a huge part in determining the mood of a piece, in part because different words that mean the same thing can have different connotations.

    • A writer might choose to use more antiquated diction like "thou art" instead of "you are" if they want to create a whimsical mood.

    • Similarly, the difference between "a dull, uneventful night" and "a peaceful, silent night" might contribute to the difference between a text with a gloomy or melancholic mood and a calm, reflective mood.

  • Genre and Plot: This one may seem obvious, but the genre and plot of a work contribute to its mood in many different ways. For instance, a murder mystery with many complicated plot developments and twists probably has a suspenseful or tense mood.


Tone refers to an author’s use of words and writing style to convey his or her attitude towards a topic. Tone is often defined as what the author feels about the subject. What the reader feels is known as the mood.

Tip: Don’t confuse tone with voice.


What do you think about Mood? Tone? and Attitude?

Post your answers in the comment box below.


Class participation points: Give feedback or comment to your bible classmate's post your response to their answer on this thread.



1. Describing the mood and tone - three-word minimum, use descriptive words (NO good, bad, scary, funny)

2. What experiences have you had with both mood and attitude? Explain your thinking in complete sentences and give specific examples.

3. In a complete sentence, explain the difference between tone and mood in person and literary?

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