The second is described as his “opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little the way a bear drags its paws.” The contrasts of character are reflected by the contrast of the setting. The story begins in a calm and peaceful part of California during a horrific time for the State. Everything is relatively tranquil at Salinas river whilst it’s chaos in the rest of the country.
There are strong contrasts in the language too when compared to the period of time. It is set during Americas “Great Depression” yet there is no depressive language used at all. Verbs, adjectives and adverbs are all used by Steinbeck to create a bliss setting for the story. This in itself may seem out of place in a story based in these hard times but for the people at the time it would create a sense of depression. I believe Steinbeck chose those words to show people what a beautiful place the earth is but that humanity is too reliant on money, that the beautiful places are often overlooked, ignored or destroyed by the greed of human nature.
Steinbeck describes the river from a distance, starting with the location, “A few miles south of Soledad.” He writes in third person and uses this to describe the gentleness of the river. He uses adjectives such as “warm”, “slipped” and “twinkling” to emphasise this. Steinbeck decided to look at the bright side of life during the dust bowl first before looking at the dark side of the poverty and depression at the time. Dickens on the other hand doesn’t show a bright side to Victorian England at all. Everything he describes is dark, The afternoon is “raw,” the churchyard is “bleak,” and the sea is described as a “savage lair.” He uses other adjectives like this throughout the script as well as adverbs such as “he ate the bread ravenously.” This adds terror to the darkness, almost as if it is horror novel.
Dickens writes in first person from the main character Pip. This means that Pip has to survive the ordeal somehow, but at times it seems hard to see how. One of the first things the criminal says to him is, “Keep still, you little devil, or I’ll cut your throat!” Despite all this violent commotion Pip still remains polite throughout the script. Pip is absolutely terrified of the convict yet he still addresses him as sir, “Pray don’t do it, sir.” It is almost as if Pip is a 19th century schoolboy addressing a violent teacher threatening him with the cane. Pip is very well spoken and polite which is a huge contrast to the convict. The convict speaks slang and informally and unsurprisingly isn’t in the least bit polite. Dickens has made him this way to be more intimidating.
Overall there are many similarities and contrasts between and in the scripts. Both are set in hard and depressing times where poverty effected almost everyone and if you were amongst the poor you were treated like dirt. But the authors have contrasting opinions on the nature of the settings. Dickens describes the nature of Victorian England as darkly as he does the death of Pips family. Steinbeck on the other hand describes the nature of Salinas River, a place that he describes as being nearly perfect. Steinbeck is more concerned with how humans and the poverty they bring with them are affecting Salinas River: the worn tree and the patch where a fire once burnt.