What is the Difference between Mood and Tone?

The two elements of literature: tone and mood help us to understand the story more clearly and in a better way. Have a peek below for all the information regarding their differences.
JAN23 What is the Difference between Mood and Tone
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Whenever you read a book, you are captivated by the story’s setting and are able to perceive the story’s atmosphere which is what the author wants to convey to you. The feeling you perceive and the feeling of the author’s point make mood and tone different from each other. In terms of literature, we tend to break down this state of feeling into two terms: mood and tone, one of which is the author’s point of view and the other being what the reader feels by reading that text. Let us read about the difference between mood and tone and other facts related to it broadly.

1. How does Tone Affect the Reader?

Tone refers to the author’s point of view of the document or the feeling that the writer wants the readers to perceive. This, however, affects the reader in many ways. Tone evokes various emotions and perspectives of the reader regarding the subject matter of the story. (See What is Process of Reading?)

2. How do you Identify Tone?

Since the tone is the writer’s attitude toward the subject of the document, you can identify tone by viewing the writer’s choice of words and phrases while emphasizing the subject matter of a document. In order to know if something is tone or mood, you need to locate the words and phrases used by the writer in his/her document. For example, a dog is described as a lovable puppy which sets a positive tone, however, if it is described as a fierce fighter, it is of a much more frightening tone. On the other hand, a mood can be identified by seeing the literary devices.

3. How do you Analyze Tone?

To analyze tone in literature, you need to identify tone and explain how the author uses the following elements in his/her piece of writing: diction, imagery, details, language, and syntax. The elements in short are known as DIDLS.

  • Diction: Diction refers to the choice of words and phrases used by the author.
  • Imagery: Imagery is the figurative language used by the author.
  • Details: Details are certain facts that the writer includes in his/her writing.
  • Language: Language specifically refers to the style of the author’s writing. It marks the emotional distance that exists between the author and the subject or the author and the audience.
  • Syntax: It refers to the structuring and organizing of individual pieces as a whole in writing.

4. Why are Tone and Mood Important?

The two elements of literature: mood and tone are important as it helps us to understand the main plot of the story in a much more vivid manner. The mood is defined as the atmosphere of the story that the reader perceives by identifying the setting, characters, details, and word choices used by the author. (See What is a Text Structure Definition?)

5. Can the Tone and Mood be the Same?

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No, tone and mood are not the same. Although they seem as interchangeable, they are not synonyms. A tone is what the author tries to convey and the mood is the feeling the reader gets after reading the literary work. 

6. What makes Mood and Tone Different from Each Other?

Mood and tone usually seem similar, but there is a difference between mood and tone, so what makes mood and tone different from each other? Well, in a mood the writer uses certain figurative language and various literary devices. It differs from tone as it includes diction or words and phrases, viewpoint, syntax, and level of infinity. Check out the 10 Scientific Benefits of Reading Books.

7. What is the Difference Between Mood and Tone?

The difference between mood and tone refers to the difference in the point of view of both the author and the reader. A tone is the author’s point of view toward the subject matter. This reflects the author’s personal opinion of his/her literary work. They convey their attitude through the usage of punctuation, word choices, and sentence structure. On the contrary, mood is the atmosphere or the overall feeling that the reader perceives. Authors convey mood through literary devices and figurative language.

8. How do you know if something is Tone or Mood?

Until now, you have known the difference between mood and tone but how do you know if something is tone or mood? To your relief, an author’s attitude is expressed through the words used by him/her in literary words. To identify a tone, you need to know the six different tones generally used, which are optimistic, tolerant, bitter, sentimental, humorous, and objective. Whereas, usage of mood can be identified by several figures used by the authors along with the literary devices. (See How to find Rhyme Scheme?)

9. How do Tone and Mood Work Together?

Although there is a difference between mood and tone, a literary work includes both of them to convey the main idea of a story or a poem. The two elements: tone and mood are required for the better understanding of the reader, as tone provides what the writer intends to convey to the reader and the mood is an overall feeling of what a reader grasp. 

10. What is Tone Used For?

The tone is used by authors to express their attitude through their work in literature. There are two types of tone which are defined as follows:

  • Objective Tone: It is impartial and does not reveal any feelings for or against a topic. Hence, it is unbiased.
  • Subjective tone: On the other hand, subjective tone refers to a personal, biased, emotional, and formal type of tone.

Usually, fiction and personal essays are written in subjective tones.

Whenever you read a story or a poem, a novel, or any literary work, you are mostly encapsulated by several emotions after grasping the atmosphere of the literary. On the other hand, you encounter several facts in those works which seem as if the writer wants you to know about them in his/her way. This is what mood and tone are generally known as in literary terms. (Also read What is Parallel Plot Definition?)

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