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How does Steinbeck build up the tension in this scene? What is the relevance to the rest of the novel?

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Introduction

How does Steinbeck build up the tension in this scene? What is the relevance to the rest of the novel? (Pages 69-80) The extract I am studying is from pages 69 to 80, where the men are trying to convince Candy that his dog should be shot. This is a significant scene, as although the reader does not know yet, it is foreshadowing the death of Lennie at the end of the book. A good way that Steinbeck relieves the tension is by introducing a new character. Candy doesn't want to have the dog shot, but it has to be as it is old and physically crippled. George doesn't want to have Lennie killed, but he kills him to put him out of his misery and he is also useless and mentally crippled. The same gun is used and they are both shot in the same manner, in the back of the head (so they will feel no pain) ...read more.

Middle

Steinbeck relieves the tension by writing about different subjects. A new character is introduced, Whit, he is proud and excited after seeing an old friend's name in a famous magazine, this shows us how lonely the men on the ranch are. A similarity is that candy needs his dog because he is very lonely, when his dog is going to be killed he loses hope but because he hears the new dream he also has a New Hope. The information about Whit continues for almost a page and this builds up the tension that we are waiting for something to happen with Candy's dog. Carlson persuades Candy to give in to the idea of shooting the dog, during the conversation, Steinbeck repeatedly says that candy looks over to Slim waiting for an answer. This is repeated more than once and shows that people listen to Slim and his opinion is respected. Slims approval is given about the dog because it is useless and crippled, this also foreshadows his opinion about Lennie and what should be done about him. ...read more.

Conclusion

These things emphasise the main point of the extract: and the tension in the room before the dog is shot. The silence that "fell on the room" is personified to further enhance its effect and importance. This makes the reader feel as tense as the men in the room and let's us know that the scene is important. The general effect of the scene - of the tension and the breaking of the bond between candy and his dog is quite an emotional scene. I believe that Steinbeck portrays the scene very well through his use of language, and has an effective metaphor that only becomes apparent later on in the book. The fact that the metaphor is only recognisable when the reader has finished the book is clever because it means that the reader is thinking about the book after they have finished it. This is often one of the main goals of writers, as it makes the book memorable by provoking thought and emotions. GCSE ENGLISH COURSEWORK- OF MICE AND MEN By Charlie Holden ...read more.

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