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Of Imagery and Detail

By acmauceri Feb 25, 2013 495 Words
Of Imagery and Detail
Over the summer, my family took a trip up to Monterey. There, I noticed many tributes towards John Steinbeck. It ranged from statues, to restaurants named after him. I thought, wow, John Steinbeck must have been one good writer to have a whole town acknowledge him in such a way. It wasn’t until I started high school and read Of Mice and Men that I really started to realize why he deserved such accolades. In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses many literary devices. Two of the most prominent devices he uses are imagery and detail. Imagery is one of the most important literary devices in Of Mice and Men. It sent chills down my spine when Steinbeck described Curley’s wife in death, “Curley’s wife lay with a half-covering of yellow hay. And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young. Now her rouged cheeks and her reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly. The curls, tiny little sausages, were spread on the hay behind her head, and her lips were parted” (Steinbeck 92-93). His words appear to be carefully chosen to create a succinct and vibrant picture for his readers. In those few sentences, the reader can really see the pain and longing vanish from Curley’s wife’s face as she lies serenely on the floor of a barn. Detail is another one of Steinbeck’s most prominent literary devices. A good example of Steinbeck’s detailed writing is in the scene where George has to kill Lenny, “And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again. Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering” (Steinbeck 106). In that scene, Steinbeck describes every little detail; down to what George’s face looked like before he pulled the trigger. Instead of just saying, George raised the gun and shot Lenny, Steinbeck makes his text more interesting by adding detail that keeps the reader at the edge of their seat. I think that Steinbeck’s use of imagery and detail are a big reason why millions of people still enjoy his books today.

I believe that imagery is one of the most important literary devices in Steinbeck’s work, because without his imagery, readers’ would not react the same way to his writing, because they would not be able to paint a picture of his words in their minds. I also believe that the imagery Steinbeck puts into his work is very important. When Steinbeck adds detail to his stories, it adds suspense and helps with the imagery.

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