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Choose one Dramatic Incident from 'Of Mice and Men' - What methods does Stienbeck use to Create and sustain Tension?

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Hannah Barnes. Choose one Dramatic Incident from 'Of Mice and Men' What methods does Stienbeck use to Create and sustain Tension? Incident- the crushing of Curley's hand In the crushing of Curley's hand incident tension is apparent from the start. In of mice and men there are a number of dramatic incidents. John Steinbeck makes them all very apparent from the start. I have chosen the incident of the crushing of Curley's hand. Dramatic tension in this novel keeps the reader intrigued, it makes you want to read on and I think that John Steinbeck creates and sustains this very successfully. In the novel we are prepared for this incident and little hints and quotes make you notice the tension and realise soon there is going to be an incident apparent. Very early on in the novel (chapter 2) it is noticed that Curley does not like 'big men', which is why also very early on in the novel it is apparent that Curley takes an immediate dislike to Lennie. He immediately speaks rudely and in an intimidating manner to him. -P.47 "Next time you answer me when you're spoken to" Steinbeck mentions how Curley does not like Lennie earley on so that the reader knows that there is tension between them, and that there could be future trouble. ...read more.


... He never means no harm" because Lennie was not interested in joining in the argument with Curley, he did not want to get involved. It was Curley who brought him into the argument, Lennie was still thinking his happy thoughts about tending rabbits. Lennie means no harm and although he can accidentally hurt people he does not like violence. But unexpectedly Curley suddenly lost his temper and hit Lennie. His aggression is identified by "Curley stepped out like a terrior." The author uses animalistic terms and a simile describing the actions for both Curley and Lennie. Because Lennie is later described as "covering his face with his huge paws and bleating with terror" Curleys actions towards Lennie are described as active aggressive verbs, at first they start off minor- "Glared" then "pounced" and suddenly it says his "Rage Exploded"- "Curley was balanced and poised. He slashed at Lennie.... Smashed down" Whilst Curley is attacking Lennie; George is repeating, "Get im Lennie," He repeats this three times before Lennie actually reacts. This builds up tension because we know that Lennie always follows Georges commands, so we know that Lennie is going to attack, but not sure when. ...read more.


After the fight Lennie does not boast in his victory, he "suddenly let go of his hold and crouched cowering against the wall." This is again because he feels intimidated and scared by Curley and worried that Curley may hurt him like before. Steinbeck uses this to Lennie's advantage, as any violence and crime he had just committed and any slight opinion change of him from the reader will immediately be re-justified back to the same nice, kind, gentle giant! Because this brings a lot of sympathy towards Lennie and makes you feel sorry for him. The same things happened to Curley before, only with Curley your opinion is quickly changed back to the original impression, and you realise that Curley is not a nice person, he is not nice to anyone and wants to lead the ranch. John Steinbeck successfully creates dramatic tension by using animalistic structure to characters. Short syntax show anger during the fight as does the use of rhetorical question and the demeaning of Curleys qualities as a man. The clear role reversal in the middle of dramatic incidents I thought were very effective, and the way I felt towards different characters repeatedly changed. ...read more.

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