In the passage be ginning "They had picked... ." from the novel Snow Falling On Cedars, the author, David Guterson, uses many techniques to give the passage a depressing, and frightening mood. He uses vivid imagery to describe Carl's dead body. He also uses figurative language, such as metaphors and similes to show the severity of the situation.
Finally, his diction shows the reader how reading about a crime scene can seem real if the word choice is right. All the techniques Guterson use help the reader to feel as if they were actually at the scene when Carl's dead body was found in the ocean. The words that Guterson uses create vivid images in the reader's mind thanks to his use of imagery in the passage. For example, when one reads about the "bubbles of seawater coursing under" Carl's shirt, and his "icy but brilliant pink" skin that looked as if the sea had parboiled in the sea, they might be disgusted.
The imagery lets readers actually imagine a dead Carl in their mind, which can be very depressing. Death is also a very scary subject for some, so imagining this would even frighten some. If Guterson would have just said that he was dead and the officers pulled him out of the water, it would not have been as effective. The reader might not have even got any mood out of that, but the mood is also determined by other factors.
Figurative language is used abundantly in the passage. Guterson uses metaphors such as Carl's hair "dripping silver strings into the sea." This gives the reader an effect of imagining a dead man's hair dripping, but the dead man seeming almost heavenly. Although the mood is depressing since Carl is dead, the reader gets a sense of relief, because the "silver strings" make it seem as if Carl has moved on to heaven, and is safe. Guterson also uses similes when describing that the officers wrapped Carl up in his net "like a hammock." This is also a very depressing part of the passage because it is representative of Carl's life really being over for good.
Basically it is like "wrapping him up and throwing away the key", because he is no more. The word choice that Guterson uses are key to the depressing and scary mood. He could have just said that Abel Martinson got sick. But instead he said he "vomited" and described it in detail. This gives an effect of how disgusting the dead body was. It is very sad for the reader to imagine because they can see how sad of a death is was from how sick Abel got.
Another example of Guterson's wonderful diction is when he described Carl being "borne by the webbing." This gives the effect of Carl being trapped and having no way to escape. This could be scary to some because they might think that he could have avoided his death if he was not trapped by the net. It is also sad, again, because there is no coming back from death. For those readers who have had personal experience with death and those they love dying around them, this passage is especially depressing. It is also very scary to those who are afraid of death. There are not many people who want to imagine an innocent man dead.
Especially in such a bad condition. It's not like he died in his sleep of natural causes, he had a violent, unmerciful death. Guterson's techniques of imagery, figurative language, and diction help readers to actually feel the pain of those in the novel. It is both a good and bad thing to have an author so descriptive that you can actually see in your mind and feel in your heart everything that the characters see and feel.
bibliography: snow falling on cedars by david guterson.