Air is a gas, then how is sound wave propagation possible? I mean, gas particles have a tendency to travel in a straight line, so how does a sound wave occur via compression and rarefaction? Most textbooks model this propagation by means of projecting gas molecules as seemingly bound, and oscillating harmonically about their original positions(barring damping). Shouldn't a gas particle leave it's position as soon as mechanical force acts in it,rather than oscillating? A gas ideally should not possess elasticity as portrayed per se?
My question being, how correct is this demonstration of sound wave propagation as a transverse wave one? Do textbooks(the few that I have read), skip the real mechanism, or my assumption is wrong. Could someone please clear this up for me.