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How does the author make use of drama and suspense effectively, in "The Steel Windpipe"?

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Prose coursework - The Steel Windpipe How does the author make use of drama and suspense effectively, in "The Steel Windpipe"? "The Steel Windpipe" Is the story of a youthful, recently qualified Russian doctor, who is forced to perform his first genuine operation, much sooner than he anticipated, when a young girl is unable to breath. Throughout the story the doctor is portrayed as a very nervous and hesitant young man. He is unsure of his ability to complete the operation successfully; this shows him as a very self-conscious person. This self doubt and uncertainty in the doctor increases the suspense and in particular the tension in the story. The reader does not have faith in the doctor's abilities or judgments. This aspect of insecurity entrances the reader and makes them want to know the outcome of the doctor's impending operation. The story is set in Russia, amidst a fierce blizzard. Russia's northern regions are infamous for their cruel and unforgiving winters, and having the story take place during this time period, adds to the atmosphere and creates a sense of gloom and depression. The violent and icy weather gives the reader a sense of foreboding and dread. ...read more.


A distraught and anxious mother frets over her daughter. The girl's grandmother increases the pressure and the tension on the doctor. The doctor detests her at first sight. ""I wish these old women didn't exist." I thought to myself." The added pressure and stress of having to work under personally unlikable circumstances for the doctor increases the tension and suspense. The reader already has doubts about the doctor and working under strenuous conditions will not help cast these doubts aside. As the doctor's initial examination of the girl ends, he is told by the girl's mother and grandmother that she has been ill for five days. The doctor believes there is nothing he can do and that the girl will surely die. "The little girl is suffocating, her throat is already blocked up. For five days you kept her ten miles away from me. Now what do you want me to do?" The mother's and grandmother's response to this is to heap more tension and pressure on to the doctor. "You're the one who's supposed to know." This increases the responsibility and tension on the doctor. It increases the suspense and tension in the story and reader. ...read more.


The doctor continues the operation and the title of the story becomes apparent when he inserts a metal pipe into the girl's throat to help her breathe. In the aftermath of the operation the doctor is congratulated by the midwives and the feldsher. As the child recovers and is returned to her mother the doctor realizes how terrible it might have been if he had not been successful. "I felt a cold sweat run down my back as I realized what it would have been like if Lidka (the little girl) had died on the table." The author, Mikhail Bulgakov, uses and creates, tension and drama very effectively in this story. He begins to build up tension almost from the start of the story. The setting is very suitable for the story. The sense of isolation leaves the doctor with no other option but to operate. The blizzard also emphasizes this feeling of isolation. During the operation the tension is at a climax. The doctor does not seem to be having any luck. When the feldsher collapses and the success of the operation is in jeopardy so close to completion the tension is very great. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Matthew Rust - 11g Ms Yeoh ...read more.

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