To begin, the average sentence length of this has great effect on the tension and drama created in this passage. For example ‘Mr. Tate uncrossed his legs and leaned forward.’ This sentence is long and descriptive, this gives a relaxed and controlled image of the situation, whereas if the sentence had been short and sharp the pace of the extract would be much quicker, and after a few of this type of sentence the reader would begin to feel that the first person was experiencing a loss of control.
Another aspect, which contributes to the tension and drama in the passage, is the situation. The reader knows this because Scout says ‘Atticus could blandly introduce me to Boo Radley at a time like this,’ the situation being that Boo Radley has appeared for the first time in x-many years, after much fantasy on behalf of Scout and Dill. This is tense because it makes the reader has heard so much about this figure and now they are seeing him, not just seeing him in fact; but the reader are also under the impression that it was he who killed Bob Ewell.
Another great participant to the tension in this passage is the pace of the text, when Heck-Tate tries to explain to Atticus that Jem didn’t kill Bob the pace increases significantly. A good example of this is the short phrase “I won”t have it,’ this increases the pace because it is short. This shows that the pace of the text also shows how tension and drama is created.
Body language also plays a significant role in creating the tension and drama in this passage. For example, Mr. Tate ‘spat into the shrubbery, then thrust his hands into his hip pockets’, is a good example of how body language effects the tension and drama. After this quote Atticus also mirrors this, the end effect begin not just that Mr. Tate is frustrated, but also that Atticus is trying to say the same, in effect creating a ‘stand-off’ between the two. Thus, creating the drama through the body language.
An additional method the author uses to create tension and drama is the weather, this is dramatic because it is night-time. The reader can tell this because Scout narrates ‘the light from the living room windows was strong on them,’ the lights in the living room would not be on if it was day time. This is used in such a way that it sets the scene for slow the pace, but more importantly it makes the occasion that Boo Radley does appear seem more usual, as he has only been ever known to surface in the night. Therefore, creating tension.
Most probably the best example of methods for creating tension and drama expressed in this passage is the extreme emotion. For example ‘God damn it, I’m not thinking of Jem!’ This is extreme emotion because Heck-Tate is shouting at Jem, the only time somebody shouts in the book, because Atticus thinks that Jem killed Bob Ewell, when it is obvious to the reader that this is complete fallacy. It is tense because of the way that Heck-Tate is desperately trying to explain to Atticus that Jem is innocent and that Boo killed Bob, even though he can’t say this.
My conclusion to this is that it is a combination of these factors, which create tension and drama in this passage.