When discussing literature, mood is the way a reader feels about what he or she is reading and tone is the attitude that the author shows through the style of writing. The two terms are often confused because they have to do with feelings or attitudes, both of which a reader and an author can experience. However, depending on the question, a student must analyze the two terms separately when asked, such as above. A good example of a passage from Stargirl to analyze both mood and tone is as follows:
"Hillari Kimble dragged Wayne Parr out to the middle of the parquet floor. They slowdanced. They fastdanced. They even tried an old-fashioned jitterbug. Nothing worked. Nothing went with the triple-thumping drumbeat but the bunny hop itself. Hillari's orchid she petals as she beat her fist on Wayne Parr's chest. 'Do something!' she yelled. She ripped sticks of chewing gum from his pocket. She chewed them furiously. She split the wad and pressed the gum into her ears" (173).
The words that help the reader to experience the mood of the scene should invoke feelings of uncontrollable frustration for Hillari's behavior. Some words that might make the reader feel this frustration are: dragged, nothing worked, beat her fist, yelled, ripped, chewed them furiously, pressed the gum into her ears. These verbs show Hillari's frustration and demonstrate her violent feelings Stargirl's success at the dance. A reader should feel her struggle as well.
Luckily, in this case, these same verbs help to illustrate the author's tone to characterize who Hillari is as a person. She's aggressive and hostile, for example. Beating up her date and chewing gum furiously tells us that the author wants us to know how frustrated she really is.