Tkam How Does the Reader Present Tension in This Passage. Essay
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Lee builds up tension through the dialogue and speech in this passage. She shows Atticus gradually becoming more nervous through punctuation, for example, "Don't just stand there, Heck!" and, “For God’s sake, Mr Finch, look where he is!” By using an exclamation mark to show that Atticus is yelling. This also shows to the reader that he is becoming more anxious and scared. This builds up a sense of danger in the reader and makes them feel fearful of what may happen to Atticus and what his children may think of him after the incident. It is a reason why Atticus was hesitant before shooting Tim Johnson; he didn’t want to do a violent act in front of his children. The use of tense dialogue is also effective as it is one of the rare moments in the novel when Lee shows Atticus being nervous, which makes the passage more alarming.
Furthermore, Lee builds up an increasingly uneasy atmosphere through Scout's narrative. "Time had slowed to a nauseating crawl." This quote from the passage suggests to the reader, because Lee personifies time, that there is a lot of tension and the atmosphere is apprehensive and uncomfortable, as everything has seemed to slow down. It sort of represents a gasp in the reader and a short pause before they see what happens. Lee also uses the simile of "He walked quickly, but I thought he moved like an underwater swimmer", which juxtaposes Atticus' fast paced walk, with Scout's portrayal of the event. It shows that he is out of his comfort zone and because it is in Scouts point of view, she knows he is feels uncomfortable.
Harper Lee uses semantic field of religion in this passage to portray a sense of fear and anxiety. When Calpurnia says, 'Sweet Jesus help him,' the reference to God emphasises her fear and fear for Atticus and so is turning to God as a last resort. Using God in such a way indicates the severity of the situation.
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