Mood of Passage in Snow Falling on Cedars

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In the passage be ginning "They had picked…" from the novel Snow Falling On Cedars, the author, David Guterson, uses many techniques to give the passage a depressing, and frightening mood. He uses vivid imagery to describe Carl's dead body. He also uses figurative language, such as metaphors and similes to show the severity of the situation. Finally, his diction shows the reader how reading about a crime scene can seem real if the word choice is right. All the techniques Guterson use help the reader to feel as if they were actually at the scene when Carl's dead body was found in the ocean.

The words that Guterson uses create vivid images in the reader's mind thanks to his use of imagery in the passage. For example, when one reads about the "bubbles of seawater coursing under" Carl's shirt, and his "icy but brilliant pink" skin that looked as if the sea had parboiled in the sea, they might be disgusted. The imagery lets readers actually imagine a dead Carl in their mind, which can be very depressing. Death is also a very scary subject for some, so imagining this would even frighten some. If Guterson would have just said that he was dead and the officers pulled him out of the water, it would not have been as effective. The reader might not have even got any mood out of that, but the mood is also determined by other factors.

Figurative language is used abundantly in the passage. Guterson uses metaphors such as Carl's hair "dripping silver strings into the sea". This gives the reader an effect of imagining a dead man's hair dripping, but the dead man seeming almost heavenly. Although the mood is depressing since Carl is dead, the reader gets a sense of relief, because the "silver strings" make it seem as if Carl has moved on to heaven, and is safe. Guterson also uses similes when describing that the officers wrapped Carl up in his net "like a hammock". This is also a very depressing part of the passage because it is representative of Carl's life really being over...
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