How is tension created in the following quotes? What literary devices are used, and what mood do they create? "I say where the chillun?" he continued, "an' she says—she was laighin' sort...

How is tension created in the following quotes? What literary devices are used, and what mood do they create?

"I say where the chillun?" he continued, "an' she says—she was laighin' sort of—"

"You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?" Mr. Gilmer seemed ready to rise to the ceiling.

"Jumped on you? Violently?"

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Harper Lee uses quite a few literary touches to make the scene where Tom Robinson takes the stand as powerful as it should be. 

First, notice the repetition. "You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?" Mr. Gilmer speaks these words. The fact that they are repeated twice shows that this is what Mr. Gilmer and presumably others at the trial saw as so offensive—that a black man could pity a white woman. Also notice the lack of a coordinating conjunction—asyndeton. 

Second, notice the hyperbole that is used next. "Mr. Gilmer seemed ready to rise to the ceiling." Mr. Gilmer obviously won't really rise to the ceiling—but the hyperbole helps us understand the depth (and perhaps the showiness) of his outrage.

There is also an odd juxtaposition of emotions here that creates an uneasy feeling. When Tom asked Mayella about the children, "Mayella sort of laughed." This begs the question of why she sort of laughed. This shows that Mayella had something else up her sleeve. 

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