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How Do Lee Harper and Mildred D Taylor Use Writing Techniques to Create Tension?

  • Date Submitted: 01/23/2011 12:11 PM
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How do Lee Harper and Mildred D Taylor use writing techniques to create tension?

Lee Harper, the author of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and Mildred D. Taylor, the author of 'Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry' both create a lot of tension in both of their writing in those books. I have been analysing some extracts from each of the books, they both use various techniques to create tension, some of them being the same but not all.

I am going to start by writing about Harper's writing in To Kill A Mockingbird, the main technique of his that I noticed in his writing is his use of the senses, mostly the hearing sense and the seeing sense. He uses a lot of describing words of a setting, an atmosphere or a person to create suspense or tension. It is that kind of writing that leads you into the book, and almost drags you through the book into the place. 'It was the shadow of a man with a hat, at first I thought it was a tree, but there was no wind blowing, and tree trunks never walked. The back porch was bathed in moonlight, and the shadow, crisp as toast, moved across the porch towards Jem' – page 59. The use of the simile 'crisp as toast' also adds to the use of the senses. Personally this is my favourite way of using a writing technique to create tension as I feel that it is a much easier way to draw a reader into the book and into the scene.
But this is the not the only way that Harper created suspense in the writing, he uses a lot of sentences that link together in a sort of creepy way, short or long, they seem to have a rhythym to them -   when he is talking about an eery character, or an eery moment in the story.. 'every scratch of foot on the gravel was Boo Radley seeking revenge; every passing Negro laughing in the night was Boo Radley loose and after us; Insects splashing around the screen were Boo Radleys insane fingers picking the wire to pieces' – page 60. This scene is after the children have run up to the Radley's house, if you read those sentences aloud you...

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