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Eragon Chapter 4

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Firstly, the author uses internal conflict to create tension in the passage. Eragon “grasped his knife” when he woke up and he “yanked the knife from its sheath” when he heard a squeak. The author uses internal conflict to show that Eragon was very nervous about the unusual sound and therefore grasped the small knife for protection. The author was successful as Eragon’s nervousness makes the readers feel anxious for Eragon as the description implies that danger is about to strike and they didn’t know what to expect. To create suspense in the passage, the author used foreshadowing.

After Eragon checked that the stone was hollow, he thought he heard “a faint squeak”. The term ‘squeak’ used by the author suggests to the reader that there is something alive in the ‘stone’. He also used the phrase ‘hollow; could be something of value inside’ to show that there is high possibility that there is something alive yet precious in the stone. Therefore, the author used foreshadowing to hint to the readers that there is probably something alive in the stone, which not much later in the story it was revealed that a dragon was hatched from the ‘stone’.

Furthermore, the author uses description of sound to create tension in the passage. This is evident from ‘subtle ringing’. Eragon used a heavy leather hammer to strike the stone and a subtle ringing had sounded. The author is trying to convey a hidden message whereby there could be some living thing inside because of the adjective ‘mournful peal’. The stone could be either magical or something alive if it was able to feel and respond to actions done on it. The word ‘peal’ further describes the sonorous expression of pain by the ‘stone’. This enables the readers to be interested in what the stone might turn out to be.

Lastly, the author left an idea hanging to create suspense. This is evident from “suddenly a crack appeared on the stone. Then another and another”. The description helps us visualise the stone cracking, and suggests that something is trying to break out of the stone. The readers can almost see the look of fear and apprehension on Eragon’s face as the stone cracks, thus evoking fear as the reader does not know what will happen next. This abrupt ending intrigues the readers and suspense is invoked as it is left to the reader to speculate about the mysterious object breaking out of the ‘stone’.

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