Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Guterson’s Use of Details

Category Case Study
Essay type Research
Words 703 (2 pages)
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In this essay I am going to explain how the author, David Guterson creates suspense in chapter two. The author helps create suspense by using the typical technical structure of story writing and emphasises their use. David Guterson throughout the whole of the book uses a lot of descriptive imagery, especially in this chapter, which makes a significant additive in the story line.

The main protagonists in this chapter are Art Moran, the town's sheriff and Abel Martinson a young officer.

The beginning of chapter two starts without informing the reader about the death of Carl Heine, so the reader doesn't know Carl is dead, this is not revealed until the end of the chapter. The setting and pace of this chapter I think are the two most important elements that help create the suspense. This is because they create the atmosphere.

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The setting of most of chapter two is set on Carl Heine's deserted boat, deserted as in the middle of the harbour and lonely in the thick fog,

'A fog as palpable as cotton'

Is the description used by the author to describe the weather. The suspense is built up thicker and leaves the reader wondering why the boat is alone and not moving. Just before Carl Heine's body is recovered the weather starts to change slightly and the fog starts to become clearer, which is a hidden meaning that the truth is becoming clearer, they are getting closer to the truth. On the boat Abel and Art find a lot of unforeseen objects that makes them wonder what is going on and again with the reader.

'Silent fish'

Is the word to describe the salmon that has been found and has obviously been there for a while. The word silent is the keyword as it represents the atmosphere and possibly Carls death. Then the coffee cup tipped on its side, which shows struggle. The most mysterious item found was the battery dead that I think is symbolic of Carl Heine being dead.

The pace of this chapter starts off very, very slow which reflects Carl Heine's death. David uses a lot of history when describing the different characters, not to mention the specific details he goes in to describe them.

'The sheriff was a lean figure, unimposing, who habitually chewed a stick of juicy fruit gum'

Is just one example of the description used. Also the author uses very long sentences, which again slows down the pace of the chapter, this changes towards the end of the chapter. The pace increases in speed, which also increases the intensity and the fact that something is going to happen. This is similar to a movie when they use music to create the atmosphere, start it off slow and then increase the speed to let the audience know something is going to happen but music cant be used in a book so they use the sentences and words to create their atmosphere. When the author increases the pace he uses words like


This is onomatopoeia, which David adds to create sound to the chapter. The pace slows down once Carl Heine's body is discovered which lets the reader come to reality that the body or what Abel and Art were looking for has finally been found. This creativity also comes into use with the language.

The language often stays the same throughout the chapter, but in this sense it helps the reader create a vivid image or picture of the person in your head. The language is also very repetitive which builds up the atmosphere in a sense of panic. The author then leaves Carls face as the last thing the two see and the fact that they don't want to see it and they will have to eventually, is this sense of realisation. Not just for Abel and Art but for the reader, as it is such an intimate chapter.

So therefore as seen the author very cleverly creates suspense by using and changing the language, pace, setting and using the characters wisely which makes this chapter more effective as it leaves the reader asking questions like, Why is the boat there? where's Carl Heine? And most importantly what's going to happen next? All these answered are eventually found out in the end of chapter two.

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Guterson’s Use of Details. (2017, Aug 21). Retrieved from

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