How does John Steinback convey the tension of the situation in the card-playing passage in chapter 3
To show the tension in the room in the passage, John Steinback often refers to the silence/any slight noise, the way time is passed, uses little dialogue and pays attention to minute details. The passing of time is indicated by acknowledging every small thing happens i. e. shuffling the cards made a snapping noise that everyone heard because so little was going on. “He rippled the edge of the cards nervously, and the little snapping noise drew the attention of all the men in the room” To pass the time, the men played a game of cards and occasionally tried 2 make light conversation e. . about Lennie’s dog, though it didn’t seem to lift the mood any or make the time pass quicker.
“I bet Lennie’s out there with his pup………….. The silence fell on the room again” The time is shown to be going slowly by commenting on every minute that passes. “A minute passed and another minute. ” This shows how stuck for words everyone is and that no one quite knows what to do or how to act. Throughout the passage, the writer continuously refers to the silence in the room. “It was silent outside. ” “The silence fell on the room again” “Faced the wall and lay silent. He does this to show how tense the room is and that everyone is speechless and don’t know what to say.
He also mentions every little noise that is made such as the “snapping noise” as the cards were rippled and “a little gnawing sound from under the floor”, which shows how silent the room is if every little sound is noticed. The writer uses dialogue to convey the inability of the characters to communicate their feelings. He does this by having a very small amount of talking and a lot of silence. No one speaks much, and even when they do speak they avoid the subject of candy’s dog.
“Candy, you can have any one of them pups you want. And although they verge near the subject of the shooting of Candy’s dog, they never talk about it directly. The fact that they aren’t speaking much/don’t talk about Candy’s dog shows they find it hard to display their emotions. Even when the gunshot is actually heard, no one actually addresses the subject in hand. Instead they look at Candy to see his reaction, but don’ actually say anything. “A gunshot sounded in the distance. The men looked quickly at the old man. Every head turned towards him. ” This shows that although worried about Candy, they don’t know how to convey their feelings.
The writer giving attention to minute detail, particularly the movement of the men, is a way of showing how little is going on and again the tension in the room. Minute details such as a “gnawing sound” and where the men are looking is acknowledged which shows thee isn’t a lot happing, and how the body language really affects the atmosphere in the room because there is nothing else going on to affect it. Also, the way in which Candy is lying is often referred to: “Candy lay still, staring at the ceiling” “he continued to stare at the ceiling, the rolled slowly over and faced the wall and lay silent.
This shows that Candy is the main feature in the room in which everyone is aware of. The lengths of the sentences in this passage were quite short. They were very to the point and abrupt. “It was silent outside. Carlson’s footsteps died away. The silence came into the room” Doing this made the passage more emotional, showed the tension and displayed the atmosphere-the sentences not being very long showed that as little was happening in the room. This passage was made to be an emotional one and one that gave us a bigger in sight to the characters; showing some of them in a new light.