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What is Mood?

You had been having a bad day, then after reading a book you felt happy. Or maybe you read a book that made you feel really sad. Are you familiar with that? Well, maybe you felt something different from what I’ve mentioned, but the most important thing about your reading experience is what you felt or how felt after reading the book. That effect you experience when or after reading a book is intentional. A writer can make a reader feel his or her intended emotions using mood. What you experienced is a result of the mood set by the writer in the book. Mood is not only expressed by living things.

We often use objects around us to set a given mood that we desire at that moment. Some of the most common examples include the lighting at a cinema or the lighting during Christmas. Both of these are unique and are associated with different moods. The lights in the cinema set a calm mood while Christmas lights set a jovial, festive, and merry mood. But chances are we are so used to them that we don’t notice their significance. I guarantee you that without the lights, the occasions you enjoy so much won’t be as fun. Let’s take a look at mood in literature.

The definition of mood

Mood is a literary device that evokes a writer’s intended emotions in a reader. On most occasions, mood is usually dependent on the genre or category of a writer’s work. Mood is not limited to fiction, nonfiction books can also have mood. One of the categories of fiction that heavily depends on mood is horror (panicked and nervous mood). The reader will only enjoy a specific genre and category of writing if the mood set is appropriate for that genre and category. Other examples of types of mood are:














Examples of the use of mood in literature

He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.

(The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway)

Ernest Hemingway shows that his character is lonely. However, this piece of Hemingway’s work has a peaceful mood. The peaceful and comforting presence of nature puts the character at peace.

How to create mood in your literary work

Have a suitable choice of words.

Your choice of words can determine the mood of your work. For instances where you intend to set a joyful mood, you should use words associated with joy and happiness and avoid words associated with sadness.

Choose a suitable setting for your work

The setting of your work goes hand in hand with the mood of your work. The setting of your work comprises the period and the physical location you use.

Use an appropriate tone for your work

Tone and mood are two different things, tone affects the mood of a literary work. Tone refers to the speaker’s feelings or attitude towards the subjects he or she is addressing in their work, while mood refers to the feelings experienced by the reader. Therefore, the writer should be careful with his or her tone to achieve a particular mood.


Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Keith Mbuya