I recently read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I rather enjoyed this short novel about two farm hands—Lennie, a huge overgrown bear of a man with the brain of a child, and George, his life-smart friend and caretaker—out to make a living on the farms of California during the Great Depression.
From Of Mice and Men:
Curley’s wife lay with a half-covering of yellow hay. And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young. Now her rouged cheeks and her reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly. The curls, tiny little sausages, were spread on the hay behind her head, and her lips were parted.
As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.
Then gradually time awakened again and moved sluggishly on. The horses stamped on the other side of the feeding racks and the halter chains clinked. Outside, the men’s voices became louder and clearer.
At any rate, the preceding passage caught me. I think we’ve all experienced moments like these when time seems to slow to a stop. And then after a moment in eternity passes, the machinery of life seems to start back up again.
Interestingly, Steinbeck creates this moment when there is no living person in the scene. The POV is omniscient. It’s almost as if he’s directing a scene for a movie.