Flight Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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In 'Flight' by John Steinbeck, I am struggling to account for and explain the 'tone' of the short story.

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In this parable, Steinbeck's naturalistic style creates both a mystical and suspenseful tone to capture a young man's struggle with his inevitable manhood. Tone is influenced and created through an author's word choice, imagery, details, language, and syntactical structure.  Specifically, the tone of "Flight" is most greatly influenced by Steinbeck's concrete detail, imagery, and figurative language. In what ways do these create a mystical and suspenseful tone?

For instance, take a close look at the concrete details Steinbeck chooses to create a visual image of the setting.  Pay close attention to the vivid descriptions of animals and the Salinas Valley.  What are the effects of this description?

As far as imagery, Steinbeck vividly portrays his characters and their emotions through colorful word choice and description. Pay close attention to the images creating dramatic mysticism and suspense.

And as far as Steinbeck's language? Steinbeck skillfully uses figurative language in his writing.  Find examples of figurative devices including metaphor, personification, simile and symbolism.  How do these colorful word combinations and ideas contribute to Steinbeck's mystical and suspenseful tone?

Much of your question can be answered more fully by reading about Steinbeck's style.


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