In The Pearl what words and phrases help create the mood?
An author creates mood by giving details about characters, settings, and situations. Steinbeck describes Kino and Juana's return to La Paz to help the reader feel the impact of their loss.
To answer this question, you want to focus on the deliberate choice of words that Steinbeck uses to describe and present this grief-stricken family on their return to their village to explore how he creates the mood of sadness and loss. In particular, you will want to pay attention to how shadows are used and how the faces of Juana and Kino are described.
Consider how the use of shadows presents Juana and Kino as ominous figures overwhelmed by an oppressive darkness:
The sun was behind them and their long shadows stalked ahead, and they seemed to carry two towers of darkness with them.
Reference to these "two towers of darkness" that they carry metaphorically of course refers to their grief, guilt, anguish and sadness at the death of their son, which is of course a massive burden for them to carry.
Secondly, note how Juana's face is described. It is "hard and lined" and we are told that her "wide eyes stared inward on herself." She is described as being "as remote and as removed as Heaven." In addition, Kino "carries his fear with him" The two figures together seem so archetypal as to be completely "removed from human experience," so much so that there was a "magical protection" about them. Clearly, Steinbeck is presenting these two characters as being ripped apart by the loss of their son, and uncaring of anything now except the grief that they must endure for the rest of their lives. This dark mood of irrepressible sadness is depicted through the use of words and description.