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How John Steinbeck Creates Mood and Atmosphere in of Mice and Men Fight Scene.

  • Date Submitted: 05/07/2016 10:18 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.5 
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Show how John Steinbeck creates mood and atmosphere here.      
     
John Steinbeck immediately builds up tension and atmosphere from his use of different techniques in the fight scene of ‘Of Mice and Men’. These techniques include powerful images developing in the reader’s head, negative choice of words and how the event quickly escalates. The most effective technique is the contrast of Lennie’s gentle childlike side and his power. John Steinbeck achieves the full effect with this technique, this also adds to the images in the reader’s mind.
John Steinbeck uses violence in speech to build up tension, for example Curley says, “Come on ya big bastard... No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. I’ll show ya who’s yella”. This quotation shows the improper language used in the fight scene and how it builds up atmosphere. Curley speaks in an aggressive manner and the dialogue shows he was deliberately acting threateningly towards Lennie. Not only does the improper language suggest his anger, it also gives evidence for how uneducated the ranch workers were. This is also backed up by the fact that people with a higher status don’t tend to swear as much, for example Curley’s father (the boss), this suggests that he is slightly more intelligent than his employees, hence his authority. Curley tends to attack easy targets; Lennie is 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 an effective technique.
Another method used by the author was similes/powerful images. Steinbeck describes Cureley’s movement as a terrier, “Curley stepped over to Lennie like a terrier”.   Terriers are stereotyped as small yet extremely violent dogs. This adds to the tension and makes the readers perspective of the scene very vivid. Lennie’s hands are also frequently referred to as “paws”. This metaphorically,...

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