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Vendetta, by Guy de Maupassant - The Wasteland, by Alan Paton - Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck - All of these texts use dramatic tension. Investigate the techniques the author uses to maintain the readers interest and create suspense.

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Introduction

DRAMATIC TENSION. English Coursework Christopher Hampton Class 10 L Vendetta, by Guy de Maupassant The Wasteland, by Alan Paton Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck All of these texts use dramatic tension. Investigate the techniques the author uses to maintain the readers interest and create suspense. I intend to investigate the ways the authors have created dramatic tension in their works. Two of the works are short stories, one written by a French author in the nineteenth century (Vendetta by Guy de Maupassant) and the other set in South Africa in the twentieth century (The Wasteland by Alan Paton). The final story is a short novel written in America in the twentieth century (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck). All three works are set in the country of the author and are set in the time that the authors wrote them. I have read the three texts and have identified a number of techniques that all three authors have used in their stories to create dramatic tension. The techniques used include unexpected twists in the storyline, creating psychological tension in the reader, revealing inner turmoil in the characters of the story, stillness, silences and dramatic pauses to create suspense in both the story and in the readers. Other ways of creating dramatic tension used by the authors include the characters being trapped or escaping a dangerous situation in the story, so the character or personalities of the people in the story and the setting or location of the story are used to create tension. ...read more.

Middle

George knows he has to do something, and leaves. The reader is left in suspense not knowing what he will do. Then Curly finds his dead wife and swears that he will kill Lenny slowly and painfully. After this the hunt for Lenny starts. The dramatic tension is due to the sense of urgency and the limited time Lenny has to hide. In section seven George finds Lenny and there is psychological tension and his inner turmoil, as he has to decide what to do about Lenny. Section eight is when George has made his decision and is going to kill Lenny himself. The outside events are closing in on George and Lenny. In section nine George kills Lenny, a sudden and dramatic event that is unexpected, as George had always looked after Lenny before. Finally the book finishes with George reflecting on what he has done to Lenny. All the techniques the three authors have used are very effective in producing the desired effects and there are many similarities in the way the authors use dramatic tension. Each author sets his story in a dramatic location. The way the scene is set and the way the locations are described are very useful in making the reader picture the sort of situation the stories characters are in. The unexpected twists used by all the authors are designed to keep the reader interested in the story and the characters and to keep reading, because if there is an unexpected twist you are suddenly interested whether there are going to be any more and how the story will carry on. ...read more.

Conclusion

In all the stories the action leads up to a dramatic moment. The death of Curly's wife, the revenge of the widow with the dog killing Nicholas and the old man hitting and killing his attacker. Each of these scenes is dramatic, but all of the story before is really setting the scene. In the Wasteland and Of Men and Mice this is followed by an unexpected twist in the story the reader could not have guessed at before, such as George shooting Lenny himself, or the old man finding out he had killed his own son. I have enjoyed reading all three stories but I enjoyed The Vendetta the most because it is a very exciting story and so much happens that is interesting. Even if it is only a short story I found it a very interesting and thrilling read. I think all the authors succeed in making the reader interested in the plot and how the story will develop. The three authors also successfully describe the main characters so the reader has empathy with them and their predicaments and the authors do this by the clever use of dramatic tension. The techniques the writers have used to create dramatic tension and the different sorts they have used I have discussed already in this piece. I think the writers are very clever and really talented to write such very short but interesting stories. So I have concluded that Guy de Maupassant, Alan Paton and John Steinbeck are extremely able writers and use dramatic tension very well and effectively. Also I now realise the proper use of dramatic tension is very important when writing. 7 ...read more.

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