How Does Steinbeck Create Tension in of Mice and Men in Chapter 6?

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The tension that Steinbeck creates in chapter six is very prominent; there are moments of peace and moments of despair. The first case in which Steinbeck creates tension is at the very beginning of the first chapter where the reader can hear peace. It is only after reading chapter six that the reader on hindsight can compare the peacefulness in the first chapter to the tension in the last chapter, this creates tension as the reader is now well aware that one of Steinbeck’s narrative techniques is that the movement goes from harmony to discord. Steinbeck also uses pathetic fallacy, figurative and colloquial language to build the tension in the readers mind. The tension in chapter six rises when the reader finds out that the setting in the last chapter is the same as the first chapter and that the events take place at the same timescale. This makes the narration seem to come a full circle. Although the story ends where it began, the values of the setting have been changed. Instead of a place of sanctuary, the pool is now a place of death. Instead of the innocent picture of “rabbits playing in the brush”, there is an imagery of violence with the “heron swallowing the little snake” whole. Instead of green leaves and a gentle breeze, there are brown dying leaves and a gush of wind. Instead of safety for Lennie there is danger. Instead of companionship for George there is a future of loneliness. As the last chapter begins with the sun setting, this marks the death of the day, making the reader wonder if it is not only the death of day but something more sinister is to come. All of the above creates tension to the reader as everything in nature is dying signifying that death is near. In the first chapter Steinbeck describes Lennie as a “bear” but in the last chapter he is a “creeping bear”, from this we can sense that if Lennie is “creeping” then something is afoot. Steinbeck also uses the term “pounded” to describe the heron having a labored flight. Steinbeck uses...
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