Mice of Men

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Steinbeck uses different techniques to build up tension and atmosphere in the fight scene of ‘Of Mice And Men’. These methods include powerful images, vivid choice of words and speed of events. Personally, I think the most effective method is the contrast between Lennie’s gentleness and power. I think Steinbeck achieves the full potential effect with this technique, and it really adds to the images in the readers mind.

John Steinbeck uses violence in speech to build up tension. Curley says “Come on ya big bastard. Get on your feet. No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. I’ll show you who’s yella”. This quotation shows the obscene language used in the fight scene, and how it builds up atmosphere. Curley speaks in an aggressive manner and this dialogue shows he was acting threateningly towards Lennie. Not only does the obscene language suggest his fury, it also acts as evidentiary support for how uneducated the ranch workers were. This is also backed up by the fact that the boss doesn’t swear, suggesting he is slightly more intelligent than his employees, hence his authority. Curley is described as ‘handy’ earlier in the text, meaning he is a good fighter. He also tends to attack an easy target. Lennie is extremely vulnerable, despite his size. Therefore, Curley would be significantly improving his reputation by fighting Lennie, because people would be unaware of his vulnerability and just notice his appearance. The violence in speech is a very effective technique.
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