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The Spire-

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How does Golding use stylistic devices to create tension in this extract? (extract where the ground opens up) The extract begins with an imperative spoken by Roger Mason, "Look right at the bottom". Although, as master builder, Roger has a higher status than the rest of the workers, Jocelin considers himself as more important than Roger, so this creates a form of social tension. Later on, Jocelin says "What is it? Tell me!" It is Jocelin's turn to use an imperative. It is now unclear as to who is really dominant in this scene. The extract continues with a list of materials that make up the foundations of the cathedral. It is factual, the kind of list that might come from a scientific report. The continuing list gives a sense of Jocelin's gaze taking everything in, and gives a feeling of apprehension, as we wonder what will come next. Golding uses antithesis to give a feeling of tension. Contrasting with the scientific nature of the list, we get a human response from Jocelin "there seemed little enough to look at", followed by a pebble dropping. This could represent a "penny dropping" in Jocelin's head, as he realises the inadequacy of the existing foundations. "The hair rose on the nape of his neck" is a reaction that people have when they are afraid, and the fact that Jocelin is afraid, when he believes absolutely in the spire, creates tension and horror. ...read more.


Jocelin is "racked with spasms". This is effective as it shows the practical, physical manifestations of the tense atmosphere. "Lips tight round his teeth" shows Roger's fear, creating tension as he is the expert, and knows what is happening, and he is very worried. "A yellow pallor shining through his skin" shows Roger's physical horror and nausea at the sight before him. Imagery is also used to show tension. "Like porridge in a pot" is a pleasant, domesticated image, which contrasts with the images they are seeing in the pit, helping to emphasise the horrors before them. It could also be that Jocelin is horrified, and is seeking comfort in the thoughts of comfortable, everyday things. The use of "grubs" as a simile is faintly repellent and gives a feeling of trepidation and suspense, partly due to the fact that grubs do not stay grubs for long, but develop into something else. Roger Mason "was staring at the grubs". The use of the word "grubs" has changed from a simile to a metaphor. This is confusing at first, as it is used in a very literal sense. I think that it shows Jocelin's gradual loss of rational thought as he becomes ever more desperate to build the spire. ...read more.


This gives us the feeling that something is happening. Jocelin's gradual realisation that there are no foundations is hinted at throughout the extract. This can create tension due to the uncertainty as to whether he will continue to insist that the spire be built or not, as it has not categorically been said. "The earth was moving", we use the phrase "the earth moved" when something new and groundbreaking had been discovered, again, Jocelin is beginning to realise that Roger was right about the spire. "Or the roof of hell down there" shows that everything Jocelin fears comes from underground, including the lack of foundations. "That which ought not to be seen or touched" could be implying that the pit should never have been dug, and the spire should never be built. "Turning, seething, coming to the boil" gives a repressed, rebellious feeling to the "darkness under the earth". The quotation "doomsday coming up" refers to the end of the world, and the destiny of humanity, which seems apt, considering the uncertain future of the spire. In conclusion, Golding uses many stylistic devices to create tension in this extract. These include repetition, personalisation, imagery, antithesis and metaphor. These combine to create tension in a variety of ways. I think that the most effective is the personalisation of the earth, and the repetition. Rebecca Weir ...read more.

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