“The gardener swiftly slit the throats of the flowers, knotting them into compact batches. Their petals spilled down to the floor in clusters of ebony, ivory and crimson. ” “The gardener snipped the stems of the flowers, gathering them into small bunches. Their petals trickled down to the floor in varieties of ebony, ivory, and crimson. ” The two sentences shown above articulate the same setting and scene; even so the two are not identical.
Where sentence one leaves the reader a bitter feel, sentence two leaves one at ease, untroubled because of its perspective of the scene. This distinction in description is also displayed in John Steinback’s novella Of Mice and Men. Steinback composes two passages, the first the opening of the first chapter, and the second the opening of the sixth chapter (the last chapter). These two texts describe a site that the two main protagonists of the plot, Lennie Small and George Milton, visit both in the very beginning and very end of the book.
However, similar to sentence one and sentence two, the mood from these two passages is vastly contrasting. Owed to the fact that Steinback uses imagery, and vocabulary techniques to affect the mood of the text of the first passage: zestful and relaxed, to the second passage: biting and barren. In chapter one the three beginning paragraphs deal with a significant volume of description about the small clearing, detailing a zestful, unworried, natural environment. Rabbits…sit on the sand,” and “the…flats are covered with the …tracks of ‘coons,” “dogs” and “deer” This exhibits a sense of energy in the passage, because Steinback manipulates the doings of animals to create a lively atmosphere, like how the animals freely pass along the clearing and do what they please (1). A startling contrast to chapter six, where the only two animals described are of the heron “motionless…[standing] in the shallows” and of a water snake “[gliding] smoothly up the pool” (6).
Due to the fewer described animals and less activity, Steinback creates a sullen, still environment, for the reason that, similar to chapter one, Steinback uses the imagery of the animals behaviors to create different moods for the two passages. Steinback also uses vocabulary techniques to create different moods for the two texts, two examples being euphony and cacophony. Both chapters contain descriptions of a heron making its way down a river. In chapter one the “heron labors up into the air and pounds down the river” and in chapter six, “The heron…jacks itself clear of the water and off down river” (1, 6).
Even though Steinback describes the same action, his control of euphony and cacophony words alters the mood that is left with the action. For example, while in chapter one the heron “labors up in the air”, in chapter six the heron “jacks itself clear”. The word labor in definition is generally not very welcoming. However, the sounding of the word itself has a soft, pleasing sound to it for its pronunciation of L in the front, causing it to be euphony.
The same applies to the word “jacked”; however unlike labor, which is euphonic, jacked is cacophonic. The strong pronunciation of the J combined with the KED in the word gives it a jarring, harsh tone. Overall, not being as pleasant to the ear as labor would be because of it being a cacophony. This links to the mood of the two passages because Steinback purposely manipulates the sounding of the words to create an either lively or serene mood like in passage one, or a desolate and eerie mood like in passage two.
In conclusion, the author of the novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinback uses imagery, and vocabulary techniques, such as euphony and cacophony words, in order to produce different moods regarding the same physical place. Why Steinback makes chapter one and chapters six description of the small forest opening different is because he wishes to create a visible differentiation from the overall mood of the beginning of the novella to the overall mood of the ending of the novella. Having this contrast symbolizes the downward spiral of the path the two protagonists of the story take, Lennie and George.
In the beginning everything appeared lively, owning a unique spark of life that flowed around the two characters before descending to the dull, tormenting end that the two must experience, this ending being when George must kill his best friend Lennie. And as Lennie comes to hide away in the clearing, to be later killed in the same clearing where he and George spoke of their dreams, the environment itself seemed to travel the same path of the two, foreshadowing the seemingly knowing unfortunate end of Lennie.