Tone and Mood

The next stage of our exploration of The Tell-Tale Heart is centered around how tone and mood are developed in the narrative.


Tone (in fiction) is the attitude of the narrator or viewpoint character toward story events and other characters.

Mood is what the reader feels while reading a piece of writing. It could be the entire piece or just a particular scene. It’s not the reader’s emotions, but the atmosphere (the vibe) of a scene or story.

In order for students to understand the difference between tone and mood, I sent them to this website here.  We used it as a springboard to discuss tone and mood. After this, we looked at how tone and mood can be manipulated using the modified trailers of some popular, feel-good films.



From here we looked at the tone of the narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart and analyzed what the mood of the narrative was. We began to identify the keywords and devices that were being used to do this in the first section of the text. Students then copied a section of the text to annotate, looking at tone and mood themselves. These can be found on their personal blogs.

Posted by Renee Plunkett

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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