John Steinbeck create atmosphere - Sample Essay

At the beginning of chapter 5 Steinbeck creates an image in the readers mind. He does this by describing the scenery as peaceful and unsettled. To emphasise this he adds in the simile, “like a mountain slope to the other end of the barn. ” Steinbeck repeats this technique in the start of every section to show that everything is quiet and still for only a while until it is disturbed by man or animals. This can be shown through the quote “quiet before the storm”. This quote means that everything is subtle and calm before something bad happens.

Steinbeck uses verbs such as “stamped and rattled” to show the disruption of the peacefulness and to convey that the animals are unsettled. This suggests that something may be beginning to happen because animals usually are able to sense when something wrong is happening. It begins to calm down again when Steinbeck describes the atmosphere in the barn using adjectives. “Stroked” and “softly” shows that Lennie can be caring towards people and things and although he killed the puppy he did it accidentally. He has a childlike nature but a strong man’s structure.

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“Why do you got to get killed? ” indicates that Lennie was almost like the victim and the puppy wasn’t. This emphasises that he doesn’t know his own strength or his own mind. He is just as innocent as a child and doesn’t know what he’s doing. Steinbeck has repeated two similar incidents that he just wants to stroke things yet ends up scaring or hurting them. Inside the barn it is very quiet, isolated and sombre. However, outside of the barn it is very lively, jovial and competitive. The dead puppy contradicts the atmosphere.

It is no longer a peaceful atmosphere, but instead a tense one. John Steinbeck has described the atmosphere like this because it is saying that it is quiet now, but there are some controversial things to happen. This is because outside of the barn it is very happy because they do not know what Lennie has done but inside of the barn it is very quiet and sad because Lennie has just killed the puppy. They could possibly be happy because Lennie is in the barn and not with them. “There was the buzz of flies in the air”.

This quote shows that inside the barn it is so quiet you can hear flies in the air. In contrary, outside you could hear “a clang of horseshoes and the shouts of men, playing, encouraging, jeering”. This shows that outside there are lots of people outside having fun, whereas Lennie is on his own in the barn. John Steinbeck has created this atmosphere because he wants the reader to feel that Lennie is isolated. A previous event which could have built up to Lennie killing the pup could be Carlson shooting Candy’s dog.

Carlson shooting the dog could have foreshadowed what was going to happen as it is the same type of death of an animal but Lennie’s was because he didn’t know what he was doing and Carlson’s was intentional. The fight between Lennie and Curley also shows a resemblance to the death of the pup because for the first time the reader knows how strong Lennie is and what he could do. This links with what he had done to the pup because he didn’t mean to hurt Curley or kill the pup; it was because he is so strong that if he gets surprised or scared he uses his strength unknowingly.

Lastly, the mouse that he killed is again the same type of situation as this and could have foreshadowed further occurrences. This is because he ‘over-petted’ the mouse and done the same to the pup. These three situations show that Lennie is unaware of his own strength and what he had happened in all three situations all foreshadowed the death of the pup. Also, the situation between Lennie and Curley showed how strong Lennie was and this led onto him killing the pup and Curley’s wife.

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