Character-Driven Tension In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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Character-Driven Tension in Of Mice and Men

Within a story it is crucial that an author forms a net that engages and interests the reader to continue reading. That net is tension, and whether or not the tension is engaging will make or break any story, be it a story about two friends in hard times or about a fantastical world. Some authors use the environment to create tension, however character-driven tension is the most common method of doing so. In the story Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck utilizes and writes his characters’ interactions to convey tension within the 1930s time period ranch. Admittedly, the character of Slim is meant to be the antithesis to the tension of the novel. He is cool-headed and calm even in a tense situation, such as in Chapter 3 in which Carlson is harassing Candy about getting rid of his senile dog. However, his antithetical behavior in Of Mice and Men is Steinbeck’s way of providing a buffer from the tension rather than a total solution to it. In Chapter 3, rather than diffuse the tense situation between Candy and Carlson, Slim stays quiet and relegates himself to the background. In contrast to Slim, the character of Curley’s Wife is the most-evident example of tension through character-interactions. Curley’s Wife feels unsatisfied by Curley, and throughout the story openly flirts with many of the farm hands. This is recognized by Candy, who also gossips about it amongst the other ranch hands. She is usually met by the ranch hands
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