What is the overall mood of the novel Monster?

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Mood and tone are often discussed together, and students can sometimes get confused on the difference. Tone refers to the author's or narrator's attitude about something. Mood is directed toward the reader. Mood describes the feelings that a piece of literature is evoking in the reader through the words and descriptions. In Monster, the narrative is told from Steve's perspective. We get his inner thoughts and feelings through his journal; however, we get a really cool third person perspective through his screenplay. This causes the mood to shift around a bit, but overall the story is told from the perspective of a kid that doesn't know his ultimate fate regarding prison time. This causes the overall mood of the piece to lean toward the scary side of things and all of the great mood words that accompany that mood. We are anxious, worried, and nervous right along with Steve. The crime he is accused of is quite serious as is his potential conviction. This gives the book a very somber and serious mood. Readers also feel a sad, lonely, and isolated mood woven throughout many parts. Steve believes he is a good kid, and the thought of being in jail with the true criminals scares him. Steve knows he doesn't fit in with that crowd; therefore, he feels very alone. Readers feel that isolation. I also have to include a suspenseful mood. Readers simply do not know what Steve's ultimate fate is going to be through much of the text.

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A mood of a novel, or any text, is derived through the author's use of language and imagery. Therefore, a mood is felt by the reader.

The mood of Walter Dean Myers' novel Monster, therefore, can be different for any given reader. Some readers may feel put off by the material, the protagonist, or (really) anything from a text. Sometimes, regardless of how hard the author tries, the desired mood is unreachable.

As for my own personal interpretation of the mood, I would tend to lean towards the mood as one which is anxious. Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. His story is one that is far too common in society today. As a teacher, I feel anxious for Steve, the situation he is in (jail and the trial), and about the verdict.

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