Mood and Tone

MOOD refers to the atmosphere (or feelings) created in a passage of writing. Words that might describe the “Mood” of the passage are: threatening, restful, nostalgic, peaceful, chaotic, joyful or jubilant, sad or melancholic…etc.

TONE refers to the attitude of the writer (in our case, the narrator) towards what is happening in the passage. Words that might describe the “Tone” of the passage are: humorous, angry, witty, direct, positive, sensitive, nervous or hesitant, questioning, unconcerned…etc.

Here is a site that lists a number of words to describe MOOD and TONE:


It is important to understand, that the MOOD (atmosphere created) and TONE of the passage (the attitude of the writer towards what is happening) are created through:

  1. The word choice
  2. The language techniques used (I have posted a handout as a quick reference for language techniques)
  3. The sentence structure/syntax

SEER (State Expand Example Response)

State Your Topic (first sentence)

  • E.g – Simon’s narration is significant in “Disaster Chapter 5

Expand With Relevant Background Detail

  • E.g – Simon’s narration is told from Joe’s perspective, however, Simon validated Joe’s account as ‘fair and correct.’  Simon’s “voice” reveals that he felt justified in distancing himself from Joe.

Examples (specific)

  • The text states …
  • The reader is told …
  • It is revealed …
  • Words like …
  • The selected text ……… tells us …

Response (your response)

  • What does the reader learn?
  • What does the reader think/ visualize/feel?
  • What connections can the reader make to other experiences or contexts?
  • What is the overall purpose/_________?
  • E.g – The reader understands from this narration that Simon is calculating the value of his life against Joe’s.  He also treats the situation logically and considers the “odds” of their survival, if Joe is assisted down the mountain.  This presents interesting reality about human native: should we risk our own life for others? When does our relationship or commitment to a person end? Is it excusable to relinquish responsibility when we are endangered our lives?

Cross Reference

  • You can include a cross-reference to a relevant situation, person, place, time, etc…