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How does John Steinbeck create Tension in ‘Of Mice and Men’ In this essay I am going to discuss how John Steinbeck creates tension during the fight scene in ’Of Mice and Men’. I am going to look at how Steinbeck uses different techniques such as vocabulary, body language, similes, and dynamic verbs to build up different levels of tension during the scene. Of mice and men demonstrates Steinbeck’s ability to build up fear throughout a scene. Before there was any actual physical conflict, Steinbeck wrote ‘Lennie looked helplessly at George, and then he got up and tried to retreat’. The word ‘helplessly’ highlights Lennie’s vulnerability. Furthermore, the word ‘tried’ suggests that Lennie doesn’t have control of the situation and doesn’t know what to do. This quotation is very emotive for the reader as they presumably prefer Lennie to Curley and don’t want Lennie to get hurt and in my opinion this is how I personally feel. Another example of the fear built up by the author is when the book says ‘George put out his hand and grabbed Slim’. The reader is immediately startled that George prevents Slim from helping Lennie, this shock soon turns into fear for Lennie and so he does not act until George tells him what to do. Steinbeck uses similes to show that Curley was aggressive, by comparing him to a terrier, a small violent dog used to attack larger animals. More similes are used when the fight starts. Steinbeck, instead of using the word hands for Lennie’s hands, he prefers using ‘paws’ and by adding the adjective ‘huge’ in front of it, we can imagine that he is like a bear. After that, Slim calls Curley a ‘dirty little rat’ and by saying this, Curley’s small size is emphasized. Furthermore, when Lennie grabs Curley’s fist and smashes it, Steinbeck uses a simile, when writing that he ‘was flopping like a fish on a line’ – also by using this description Steinbeck introduces another technique – a really strong and vivid image in the readers...
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