Of Mice and Men. This novel is used for English Language coursework and the English Literature exam

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1 Of Mice and Men This novel is used for English Language coursework and the English Literature exam

2 Contents of Revision guide 1. English Language coursework outline 2. English Literature exam outline 3. Context 4. Character studies and useful quotes 5. Comparing the characters

3 English Language Coursework

4 English Language coursework English Language A 1200 word essay On either themes and ideas or characterisation and voice 15% of the GCSE Context is very important!

5 Marking for Language coursework AO3: i. Read, understand and then select good parts of the story to analyse ii. iii. Develop interpretations of writer s ideas and perspectives Explain and evaluate linguistic, grammatical and structural choices Band 5 Sophisticated Band 4 Confident Band 3 Clear Band 2 Some awareness Band 1 Limited understanding Band 0 Nothing worthy

6 Marking for Language coursework AO3: i. Read, understand and then select good parts of the story to analyse ii. iii. Develop interpretations of writer s ideas and perspectives Explain and evaluate linguistic, grammatical and structural choices Band 5 Sophisticated Band 4 Confident Band 3 Clear Band 2 Some awareness Band 1 Limited understanding Band 0 Nothing worthy

7 Marking for Language coursework You need to discuss three things; story elements (AO1), Steinbeck s feelings about the world (AO2) and choices in writing style (AO3)

8 Fictional elements (AO1) Things that happen in the story to show their relationship: Lenny follows George They wear the same clothes Lenny guilt trips George George takes the mouse What does each of these suggest about their relationship?

9 Fictional elements (AO1) Lennie and George are shown to have varying degrees of thoughtfulness as George is clearly the warier of the two. His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse George then criticises Lennie s actions exclaiming he ll make himself sick, and that the water doesn t look clean. Immediately we assume George to be smarter and more cautious. Yet his response to Lennie seems more like the over-cautious parent who constantly shouts unnecessary warnings. George does drink from the pool and also shows that he follows Lennie s lead at times. This early in the story, we wonder if Lennies really needs so much guidance from George and already have opportunities to question whether it is in fact George that needs Lennie, if only to see the world less seriously.

10 Interpret writer s ideas (AO2) How did Steinbeck actually feel? 1. That the American Dream was folly, something no man could actually achieve. 2. That true happiness was found through companionship. 3. That no friendship was as close as that between two laborers (even marriages). 4. He recognised the poor way African American s were treated. 5. He thought of the landscape as beautiful and serene.

11 Interpret writer s ideas (AO2) You will need to find evidence for these feelings by giving examples and quotes from the story.

12 Linguistic elements (AO3) The language that is used to show someone s power: Lennie is compared to bears Curley is compared to small dogs Crooks possessions reveal his skills and intellect Lennie is obsessed with mice (why mice?) What does the language suggest about each person s power?

13 What is linguistic elements (AO3)? You should be able to talk about the words and sentences that the author uses. This might be he uses this word because it has the effect of Or this word is important because it means / It shows us EG; Steinbeck uses the word denim because it shows us more about the kind of people they are it means the working class, poorer than many.

14 Structural comments (AO3) Steinbeck often showed us an image to introduce an event, and then showed us the same image again after. See these: When we see Crooks in his bunk at first he is rubbing his back with oil. He rubs his back again with oil at the end of the scene. The story opens at the Salinas river, the same place it finishes. Both have the same description of how serene the place is. We are first told that Curley s Wife is a tart, when she dies, it s for being flirtatious with Lennie, letting him stroke her hair. The dream is preceeded at the beginning of the story with George giving Lennie hell. At the end, Lennie encourages George to give him hell for doing bad things before recounting the dream again. Each of these structures seems to show us the cyclic (repeating) nature; that things don t change. Life for the nigger wont change, he will always be underprivileged. CW would always be someone who couldn t get over her need for attentions. And Lennie also can never change he will always be troublesome and should be given hell. This means George can never have the dream, because things don t change for people of the Great Depression they never get better.

15 English Literature Exam

16 English Literature exam Unit 1 exam 1 hour 30 minutes 60 marks (40% of the GCSE) There are two sections; OMAM turns up in Section B: Exploring Cultures (Section B is worth 50% of exam or 20% of GCSE)

17 English Literature exam Section B: Exploring Cultures Question 1 you will be given an extract and will answer a question about it. Question 2 you will have a question to answer based on the whole text Candidates will be expected to consider: ideas, themes and issues characterisation settings. These must be underpinned by understanding the writers language and techniques. their candidates. Section B offers a choice of four texts which explore different cultures. Candidates should explore aspects of the text that are specific to that culture as well as universal ideas.

18 Context of story (and a little on how it s similar to out current climate)

19 The Great Depression The Great Depression began with the Wall Street Crash of October, 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. The market crash marked the beginning of a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging farm incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement. Although its causes are still uncertain and controversial, the net effect was a sudden and general loss of confidence in the economic future.

20 What are the similarities with our own recession? Clips from causes and effects Based on what you know of our present economic condition and what you have learnt from the American Great Depression, what similarities are there?

21 Steinbeck s context He was the son of a 1920s migrant worker, and we see the effects that the Great Depression had on his family. They moved over 2,000 miles and lived in a 'tent city' for two years, trying to establish a life for themselves in California. There is further exploration into how Steinbeck was politically aware and sensitive to the situation of migrant workers. His empathy for marginalised people helps our understanding of how the political climate of 1920s America influenced 'Of Mice and Men'.

22 American Dream Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness The right to live your own life as chosen by yourself The right to be free from servitude no-one should be enslaved The right to doing the things that make you happy (on the condition that they do not infringe upon other people s life, liberty or pursuit of happiness Everyone has this American dream, to be happy, be their own men, following the orders of none other and being independent to do as they please. However, many American s are not able to achieve these things they are not laws, this is just the dream life.

23 Studying the Novel - characters

24 Novel summary There are very good and succinct summaries on both Wikipedia and Sparknotes.com

25 Definitions Tone the emotional quality of the story; sad, angry, optimistic, regret, sorrow, passion etc Message some words are important because they tell us so much more about the characters, the setting or the morals. Structure the way the author positions key information or descriptions to tell us something else. The same information in different locations will mean the message is lost.

26 Character studies Click the character to jump to their section 1. Candy and his dog 2. Curley 3. Crooks 4. Curley s wife 5. George and Lennie

27 Candy and his dog

28 The incident of the dog s death is important in a number of ways. Suggest what it reveals about each of the characters involved Slim, Carlson and Candy. HOW IS IT AN EXAMPLE OF FORESHADOWING?

29 Treatment: The farm is poor, the people are poor, what do you think will happen to Candy if an old dog who has worked hard all his life is put down for being useless?

30 Using these quotes, explain what Candy has to be worried about: I wish t somebody d shoot me if I got old an a cripple Slim I don t mind takin care of him Candy on his dog Got no teeth, stiff with rheumatism Carlson on the dog I herded sheep with him he said proudly, Best damn sheep dog I ever saw Candy He ain t no good to you Candy and he ain t no good to hisself - Carlson

31 Studying Candy Poor old Candy is, like his dog, nearing the end of his usefulness to the farm. He makes himself more valuable by trying to be the local gossip and filling in George all about Curley s Wife when he arrives. George even proclaims that Candy is sticking is nose into other people s business when he over hears them talking after their induction from the boss. It happens again when Candy hears about the dream he s in the right place at the right time listening.

32 Studying Candy When Candy s dog is put down by Carlson, the reasoning is because he ain t no good to [Candy], and he ain t no good to his self. He s old, has rheumatism, and can t work. Of course, Candy is upset to loose his best friend who he would be willing to look after in his old age. But we have to wonder if he sees his own future in this old dog. He later tells George that they ll kick him of the farm soon for being more a burden than a good worker, and as he has no relatives and only a little money, his redundancy will be his death.

33 Studying Candy When he hears about the dream, he is very keen to become involved, willing to cook, clean, and tend the chickens. This possible retirement plan is the only way Candy could enjoy his remaining years, as during the Great Depression, there was very little welfare and support for the elderly.

34 Chap 3 notes Candy mirrors his dog in that they are old and decrepit. The dog can offer nothing to the farm and is only costing it s owner. When Candy can no longer offer anything, will they shoot him? Candy lets his dog down by not sticking with him until the end. What happens in the relationship of Candy and dog foreshadows the Lennie and George relationship

35 Curley

36 These quotes from various places are important when thinking about Curley George looked around at Lennie Jesus what a tramp George on CW p33 His arms bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch When Curley first sees Lennie p26 And like the boss he wore high heeled boots Curley P26 Well she got the eye. Candy on Curley s wife P29 The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line p63, Lennie attacks Curley Curley stepped over to Lennie like a terrier then Curley s rage exploded p62

37 Studying Curley The son of the boss, Curley, is a character who seems to have an authority complex. Not only does he seem to boss about the others on the ranch; demanding to know George and Lennie s names, instructing Lennie to answer when he s spoken to and confronting Slim in the barn, but he has a complex about people who are bigger than him It s Candy who tells us that he s like a lot of little guys, angry he ain t a big guy.

38 Studying Curley Steinbeck describes Curley in a number of ways to suggest these complexes. Firstly, he wears high heeled boots like the boss. He might dress as the boss does to help portray a sense of authority, but it could also be to increase his height compared to the big guys. We also see that he adopts a fighters stance, clenching his fists and crouching over slightly when he sees Lennie, like he is succumbing to a natural instinct to fight. This is further demonstrated by Steinbeck by suggesting he is like a terrier small dogs which often get into fights with larger dogs. Steinbeck seems to be comparing the mindset of a small dog to Curley.

39 Studying Curley But it isn t this authority complex which makes Curley a bad person it s his relationship with his wife. Throughout the novel, we frequently see either Curley, or his wife, looking for the other, but they are never seen together. This itself suggests that there is something wrong. His wife later admits to Lennie that Curley ain t a nice guy, who only talks about how he is going to fight other guys. At the end of the novel, Curley seems to make no emotional connection to his dead wide, instead focussing on killing Lennie who he seems to have made his nemesis. Once Lennie is dead, he simply can t fathom why George is so upset. He just doesn t know what it means to have a companion. His dream is about power and nothing more.

40 Studying Crooks

41 Crooks Represents the treatment of black people at the time in which the novel is set.

42 Going mad Unsocial Can t be with the white men Smart Powerless Asserts power over Lennie by bullying him Quotes and ideas around crooks So lonely, he thinks he sees things in the dark (p72) I ain t got no right to be in the bunkhouse, you ain t got no right to be in my room. It s cos I m black. Saddles, leathers, repairing tools, medicine, books on law. Supposin George don t come back, what ll you do then? Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego, nothing to arouse either like or dislike p80

43 Crooks tortures Lennie He can be sure you won t go blabbin What does this suggest about Lennie? Suppose George don t come back no more Why does he start suggesting this theory? If I say somethin, why it s just a nigger sayin it What does he mean by this? Crooks face lighted with pleasure in his torture Why does Crooks enjoy suggesting to Lennie that George might not come back? If a guy gets too lonely he gets sick Explain what he means by sick I was talking about myself It s true, everything he s suggest is a reflection of Crooks, not George. What do we learn about Crooks?

44 What does the description of Crooks room reveal about its occupant? Crooks has a bed of straw. He is all alone. He has to live and sleep near the animals & horses and can't be in the same room as the other men ( Cos I'm black ). However Crooks has more possessions because he is permanent and his books show intelligence.

45 What does the description of Crooks room p66 reveal about its occupant? Has all the things he needs He is a working man who probably has more specific skills than the rest who buck barely His skills make him important and valuable Having his own quarters does not make him special Books and civil code = is literate, another valuable feature Gun = wealth Working equipment in room = form of imprisonment?

46 "You got no right to come in my room...you go on get outa my room. I ain't wanted in the bunkhouse and you ain't wanted in my room." At the time the novel was written, blacks were referred to as "niggers. Being a nigger, Crooks is separated from the whites at the ranch and he resents this. He is angry at being pushed to the side. Being oppressed has made him cruel and has turned him to self-pity.

47 A Study of Crooks

48 Crooks is the saddest character of them all because he has so much potential to be a well respected and powerful character. We see from the possessions in his room (books on law, tools of his trade and medicines for the horses) that he is literate, intelligent (though probably not educated as at the time, blacks were not privileged enough to have an education) and a skilled worker. The other ranchers only buck barley which means to huck bags of grain back and forth. George even says of himself and Lennie that they aren t smart, or he wouldn t be buckin no barley for 50 a month.

49 Yet despite Crooks skills and intelligence, he cannot socialise with the others (he isn t allowed in the bunk house) and is threatened easily. He has no power to assert any authority. The one thing that stops him from having any authority is his colour. But this isn t the saddest thing.

50 Crooks explains to Lennie that he is so lonely that he is sick probably emotionally sick. He has been alone for so long that he seems to be going mad and tells that he thinks he sees things in the dark. When Lennie first enters, Crooks takes an opportunity to assert his obvious intelligence over poor Lennie and shows him his destitute world by convincing him that George is going to leave him all alone making Lennie see the world which he is forced to endure and he seems to take great pleasure in torturing Lennie.

51 The saddest thing about the crooked man is that, whilst he might be physically broken, and socially broken, he is also emotionally broken. When he hears about the dream from Candy and Lennie, he offers to work for free, he seems to opt in to slave-master heircahy. But as he is reminded of his position, a man to be lynched, he reduces himself to nothing, no personality, no ego, nothing to like or dislike. Even his personality has been eroded away leaving nothing but the working flesh of the slave. It s hard consider how any of the other characters can have it worse than this poor nigger, whose word is worth nothing.

52 What does this all mean? The American Dream is colour specific? He has all the features of a powerful man, but is one of the weakest. Hidden racism, it is not always overt Who could run the ranch but never could

53 Crooks 1. illustrates the segregated, racist society 2. provides an insight into the reality of the American Dream 3. emphasises the theme of loneliness 4. need for company and human interaction

54 The reader has to decide whether Crooks deserves sympathy, or if he is just a cruel, bitter stable-buck. WHAT DO YOU THINK & WHY?

55 Curley s Wife

56 Quotes Listen Nigger, you know what I could do to you if you open your trap? p80 Her look Rouged lips, red finger nails, cotton dress, curled hair she is the picture of beauty on this ranch. Even the colours suggest lust. p32 Her face was heavily made up, her lips were parted, she breathed heavily. Her very nature seems lusty and provokes desire from the men around her. P76

57 Is she lonely? I don t like Curley. He ain t a nice fella. P87 Whilst CW appears quite a bit throughout the text, we learn very little about her relationship with Curley. In the film adaptation, we have an extra scene where she turns up in the field and explains that she ain t doing no harm talking to anyone, and that she s lonely she only wants someone to talk to. This is an interesting interpretation of her and though we don t read this in the novel, we do get this feeling because she seems to spend all of her time with the other guys. She doesn t want to be with Curley as she says, yet she is always told to leave by the ranchers. She opens up to Lennie in the barn and says she wishes for a different life.

58 Studying Curley s Wife The sad thing about her life is that she has a dream, just like Lennie and George. However she can never attain her dream because she is a married woman now, her place is at home; something else not alluded to in the novel, but put into context by the film adaptation when Curley sends her home from the barn (a major difference between the adaptation is that we do see Curley and his wife together). A final reminder that she is subordinate to men, is that we never find out her name. The denomination Curley s Wife hints that she is property, owned by Curley. Ironically, her dream of being in the pitchers (pictures) would mean that everyone would know her name, and not as Curley s Wife. Maybe her dream is simply to be recognised and loved, even on a superficial level by a film audience.

59 Studying Curley s Wife One question that we are left lingering with, is why she takes such a shine to the big baby (as she calls) Lennie. Is it because she hears about their dream of a farm in Crooks room and, like Candy and Crooks, thinks that this is her way out of her predicament? After she hears of this, she finds Lennie in the barn and befriends him. Is she using her womanly ways and soft features to win Lennie over in the hope that they will take her with them? Is this why she spends so much time with all the other ranchers in the hope that one of them gives her a way out?

60 Why did Curley s wife die? Were the preceding events significant? What did she get out of being with Lennie? Is the dream / context to blame? How did the various relationships in the story lead to her death?

61 George and Lennie

62 George and lennie I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin his pay away from him? The Boss when G&L arrive p24 He ain t no cuckoo. He s dumb as hell but he ain t crazy George defending Lennie to Slim P40 You travel around with George don t ya? Crooks commenting on the relationship between them. Both dressed in denim trousers and denim coats shows they are labourers, p4 [A huge man dragging his feet like a bear drags his paws] Lennie drags his feet like a child, but is powerful like an animal -p4 Lennie bleated with terror p63 Shows he is meek like a lamb, but has the strength of a bear.

63 How much does Lennie understand? Lennie is described as drinking from a big paw creating ripples across the pond. The use of paw suggest things about his character, that he is of simple mind and maybe that he cannot be educated. He is a beast and not civilised. This idea is furthered when he dabbles in the water creating ripples that spread across the pond. This surprises him and he exclaims look what I done! Right from the beginning of the story we see that Lennie doesn t understand the consequences of his actions, much like an animal. We see it when he holds on the woman s dress in Weed, when he kills the mice, when he holds Curley like a flopping fish, and when he holds on to Curley s Wife.

64 Lennie s power Lennie spoke craftily p15 Surprisingly, Lennie is able to control George through careful manipulation of the conversation. He has learnt that George won t abandon him and so he can use this as emotional blackmail he frequently says to George that he can go off into the hills, which forces George to cool down and apologise. He also knows that the dream cheers him up and brings them closer together. Lennie s control of their arguments shows how much power he has over George but ultimately, it s not the dream that brings them together, it s the companionship.

65 George s changing tone As we go through the novel, we see that the way George responds to the dream changes. This is structurally important we watch as George comes to believe the dream might happen, only for it to be snatched away from him in the cruellest way. Steinbeck is showing us that, like Robert Burns poem; The best laid plans of mice and men, aft gang aglay, there is no happy ending for ranchers in the Great Depression and to chase your dream is foolish. 1. At first he doesn t believe in the dream. 2. As he relaxes at the ranch and begins to think they could work there, he begins to enjoy retelling the dream, but only when Lennie makes him. 3. Eventually, there is reason to think the dream might happen and he is clearly excited by the dream. 4. After Candy has come in on the plan, he starts to talk about the dream of his own accord. 5. The realisation the dream is lost.

66 George s changing tone 1. To hell with them rabbits! That s all you can ever remember is them rabbits! p6 anger and resentment 2. we ll set up a big fire and listen to the rain comin down on the roof nuts, I ain t got time for no more p16 frustration, cares little for the dream. 3. And the cream is so God damn thick you gotta cut it with a knife and take it out with a spoon Lennie watched him with wide eyes p57 George enjoying retelling the dream. 4. George said wonderingly, S pose they was a carnival or a circus p61 the first time George talks about the dream unprompted by others. 5. George was quite for a moment. But not us he said p103 he realises the dream will never happen and he can barely even say the words any longer.

67 George handling Lennie George keeps telling Lennie about this fantastic dream but, but each time we read about it, it tends to be preceded by Lennie doing something bad. George seems to be telling Lennie the story to encourage him to do good things as Lennie already knows off by heart that George won t let him tend the rabbits if he s bad. At the beginning of the story then, it isn t a dream but a persuasive technique. We know then that George isn t with Lennie for his money as Slim suggested, but out of a sense of duty or maybe for companionship. Realistically, George knows that his life would be worse off if he didn t have Lennie to look after. The change in tone during the final chapter shows how George regrets that spending his monthlies at a cat house will probably become his future, he has now joined the other ranchers in their hopes and dreams.

68 A study The story starts and ends in the same location. Because it recurs we can assume it has some significance all things that recur do so because the author is trying to tell us something. In this case, both first and last chapters start with a calming description of the Salinas river. The description of animals is continued throughout the story so we assume that nature has a governing role. The heron picking the snake out of the water shows the circle of life, that it is predatory in some way and this is reflected in the story. Lennie turns out to be the surprise predator. The chapters are similar, not only because of the opening, but because of the conversation George and Lennie has. They first discuss how George is or should be angry, then how Lennie could run away and live in a cave, and finally the dream. However, the tone has changed. Initially, George is angry, fed-up and demonstrative. At the end he seems exhausted, serene and more tender. His language demonstrates that he has come to realise the futility of trying to tame the bear, just as man hasn t tamed the natural world as shown by Steinbeck at the Salinas. He has realised that his relationship with Lennie is cyclic and this will only occur again, with potentially worse consequences, if George doesn t take action now. Ultimately, we see that the reasoning and intelligence of man cannot change the path of nature. We wonder if Steinbeck is pointing towards the drought which created the dustbowl, no matter what farming technique was employed, nothing could be grown from the land. Man is powerless to change the course of nature. The change in tone of the final chapter from the frustrated optimism of the first, as revealed in George s language, is not just at the hopelessness of achieving the dream but of loosing a companion. No other character in the story has a dream with the exception of Curley s Wife. Maybe she is given a dream when the other characters have not to indicate the desperate nature of her life as wife of Curley. Lennie for the first time seems to have learnt consequences to actions as he knew killing the dog was wrong, recognised how much trouble he was in after he killed Curley s Wife and has remembered where to run to. Lennie might soon have become more independent and with the addition of Candy, the dream seems plausible for the first time. But it is Carlson s final comment,; what do you suppose is eatin them two guys? which reveals the importance of friendship. Carlson is not given a dream, but is keen to recount a friend he had in an old rancher even though no-one else is interested. It seems that people had a reason not just to survive, but to want and do better if they had a companion, which was also Candy s greatest loss.

69 Comparing characters

70 What makes each powerful, or powerless? Characters George Lennie Curley Curley s wife Candy Crooks Slim Carlson Key ideas Do they have a dream? Are they respected? Are they valuable to the farm? Are they feared? Do they have friends / family? Are they physically powerful? Are they emotionally powerful?

71 The characters Surround each with words which describe their character

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