Of Mice and Men Edexcel English Language Revision Guide

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Of Mice and Men Edexcel English Language Revision Guide

  1. 1. 1 Edexcel English Language GCSE 60% of your final grade Exam: 3rd June Name:
  2. 2. 2 Contents 3) The structure of the exam 4) The Assessment Objectives 6) What has come up on the exam so far? 7) What could come up? 8) Words to use when analysing 9 – 10) How to answer part a 12 – 14) Exemplar response to part a 15 – 16) Mark scheme for exemplar piece 17) How to answer part b 19 – 22) Exemplar response to part b 23 – 24) Mark scheme for exemplar piece 25 – 39) Section A past exam papers 40 – 39) Section A mark schemes 59 – 80) Information about plot, character and themes
  3. 3. 3 The structure of the exam: The exam is made up of two sections: Section A = Of Mice and Men (16 + 24) Section B = Non-fiction Writing (24 marks) Timings: 1 hour and 45 minutes in total Section A:For Section A, you have 65 minutes. However, the question is in two parts: For part a, you need to spend 20 minutes on this question: 5 minutes reading and annotating the extract and then 15 minutes writing your response. For part b, you need to spend 45 minutes on this question: 10 minutes finding your extract and planning your answer and then 35 minutes writing your response. Section B: For Section B, you have 40 minutes.5 minutes to plan your answer, 30 minutes to write your answer and then 5 minutes to check it.YOU ONLY NEED TO ANSWER ONE QUESTION. TIP: START WITH SECTION B (WRITING)
  4. 4. 4 The Assessment Objectives: AO3 is tested on Section A. AO4 is tested on Section B.
  5. 5. 5 Section A Of Mice and Men a) 16 Marks b) 24 Marks a) 5 minutes reading and annotating 15 minutes writing b) 10 minutes selecting and planning 35 minutes writing
  6. 6. 6 What has come up on the exam so far? Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 June 11 Jan 12 Nov 12 Jan 13 Jun 13 Nov 13 Jun 12 Section 3 is a particular favourite – this isn’t a surprise considering that a lot of action happens in this section. Note how Section 1 & 6 have yet to come up. WHAT CHARACTERS HAVE COME UP SO FAR? Section 2: June 11 – Slim’s initial description (a) How another male is presented (b) Section 3: Jan 12 – Lennie, Candy & George discussing dream (a) Hopes and dreams in another part (b) Nov 12 – Curley fight scene(a) Curley in one other section (b) Jan 13 – Candy’s dog (a) Event and reactions to it (b) Jun 13 – Slim & George coming into the bunkhouse together (a) George (b) Section 4: Nov 13 – Crooks initial description (a) Crooks in one other part of the novel (b) Section 5: Jun 12 – Death of Curley’s Wife (a) Important event (b)
  7. 7. 7 What could come up? *This is not a definitive list – these are just some of the possibilities. Section 1: George and Lennie’s initial description. George and Lennie dream. Section 2: Description of the bunkhouse and what it reveals about its inhabitants. George’s exchange with the boss. Initial description of Curley and his exchange with George. Initial description of Curley’s Wife. Initial description of Carlson. Section 3: Whit talking to Slim about the letter in the magazine. Whit talking to George about Susy’s place. Section 4: Lennie, Candy and Crooks talking about the dream. Curley’s Wife intimidating Crooks. Section 5: Lennie killing his puppy. Curley’s Wife’s dream. Candy finding Curley’s Wife. Section 6: Description of the Salinas River. George shooting Lennie.
  8. 8. 8 Words to use when analysing Clear and varied: This/tosuggests ... This/toportrays... This/todepicts... This/toimplies... This/tohighlights... This/toconveys... This/toechoes the way in which.../a sense in which... This/toparallels the idea that This/to signifies... More complex: This alludes to a sense of ... This establishes the tone to be... Thisillustrates the way in which.../a sense that... This emphasises (brings attention to) This presents the feeling that... This validates (confirms/proves) any uncertainty we might have had concerning... Academic: The use of X exemplifies (is typical of)the way in which Y portrays this relationship/feeling etc... Y’s use of X illuminates (highlights) the sense (feeling) of Z that pervades the text. The use of X encapsulates (shows the essence of) this sense of Z that we see .. Using X clarifies (makes clear) the notion that... X uses a Y when they state that ‘ZZZZ’ and /or new sentence... Top Tip: Don’t overuse short sentences that all begin with ‘This...’ Instead join sentences with connectives or semi-colons so that they don’t read like annotations just written out in full sentences! For example: Steinbeck uses the description of ‘red ostrich feathers’ to convey key information about Curley’s wife to the reader.;Tthe feathers connote delicacy and suggest that Curley’s wife is fragile and perhaps easily hurt or damaged. It also implies she is out of place on the ranch, just as feathers are out of place on a shoeand soSteinbeck might have chosen this description to allude to Curley’s wife’s sadness. She is not understood by her husband nor by any of the other men on the ranch and yet she herself does not understand the danger she may be in by continuing to seek their attention. Words to use when evaluating Effective engaging interestingcompelling convincing poignant (makes you feel sad)reminiscent of... (reminds you of) moving impressive powerful evocative (making you feel strong emotions) this resonates on the reader (the reader feels the emotion) Abstract nouns (‘big’ ideas) Intimacy (closeness) friendship loneliness isolation The American Dream dreams Empowerment (gaining power) disempowerment (losing power) impotence/impotent (lack of power) Fatalism hope trust prejudice racism Nature Synonyms for tone (mood) and for language... the tone is... the language is... bittercallous (cold/unfeeling) caustic (cutting/biting) cold (emotionally cold)colloquial confiding (trusting) contemplative (thoughtful) dispassionate (unemotional)detached despondent (hopeless) deferential (respectful) defiant (rebellious/stubborn) embitteredfigurativehyperbolicimpassive (unemotional) indignant (offended) intimate (personal) melancholic (sad) mournful ominouspensive (thoughtful)plaintive (mournful) poetic proud regretful reproachful (critical)resentfulrespectfulreverent (respectful) reverential (linked to worship/spiritual) sombre (serious) sorrowful subdued (quiet) symbolic tender (gentle) threatening understated unemotionalviolent wistful (dreamy/hopeful)
  9. 9. 9 How to answer Section A The way that Question 5 part a is worded is not very helpful, so we need to break it down into simpler terms. They ALWAYS use the phrase ‘influences your view’; this basically means WHAT DOES IT SHOW THE READER? WHAT DOES IT MAKE US THINK/FEEL? (EFFECT). So the question essentially is: Explore how Steinbeck uses language to present the character of Crooks to the reader. Steps to success: 1. Read the exam question very carefully at least twice. If you need to reword it in order to help you focus then do so. 2. Highlight the key words in the question so you know what you are looking for in the extract. 3. Read the extract through once. 4. Re-read the extract. This time highlight any quotations that will help you to answer the question. Spend 5 minutes maximum on reading and annotating. 5. Always begin your response ‘In the extract…’ as well as using the key words from the question (see exemplar response). 6. Make sure you include Steinbeck’s name and the effect on the reader. 7. Within your response you MUST use SINGLE WORD ANALYSIS (see exemplar response).
  10. 10. 10 8. Ensure that you ALWAYS use the correct language terminology. 9. You need to aim for full coverage of the extract. 10.You don’t have to cover the language presented in the extract in a chronological order. 11.You should aim to write around 1 ¾ sides of your examination book. 12.Watch your timings – this question is only worth 16 marks.
  11. 11. 11 Exemplar response to part a (Nov 2013)
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. 13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. 15 Mark scheme for Nov 2013 part a
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. 17 How to answer Section B For part b, you have to demonstrate exactly the same skills as you did in part a. However, this time you have to find your own extract. Steps to success: 1. Read the exam question very carefully at least twice. 2. Highlight the key words in the question so you know what you are looking for when locating your own extract. Make sure that it is the most appropriate one. 3. Spend 10 minutes locating your extract and then planning what you are going to pick out of your extract. Remember, the focus is still on language, but the examiner is looking for a more detailed answer from you for this question as you have twice the writing time. 4. Begin your response ‘In section ….., we see….. (Give a brief overview of your section before you begin)’. See the exemplar piece as an example. 5. Make sure you include Steinbeck’s name and the effect on the reader. 6. Within your response you MUST use SINGLE WORD ANALYSIS (see exemplar response). 7. Ensure that you ALWAYS use the correct language terminology. 8. You need to aim for full coverage of your extract. 9. You should aim to write around 3 - 3 ¼ sides of your examination book.
  18. 18. 18 Exemplar response to part b (Nov 2013)
  19. 19. 19
  20. 20. 20
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. 23 Mark scheme for Nov 2013 part b
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. 25 Section A PAST EXAM PAPERS
  26. 26. 26 Nov 2013
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. 28 Jun 2013
  29. 29. 29
  30. 30. 30 Jan 2013
  31. 31. 31
  32. 32. 32 Nov 2012
  33. 33. 33
  34. 34. 34 Jun 2012
  35. 35. 35
  36. 36. 36 Jan 2012
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. 38 Jun 2011
  39. 39. 39
  40. 40. 40 Section A MARK SCHEMES
  41. 41. 41 Nov 2013
  42. 42. 42
  43. 43. 43
  44. 44. 44 Jun 2013
  45. 45. 45
  46. 46. 46
  47. 47. 47 Jan 2013
  48. 48. 48
  49. 49. 49 Jun2012
  50. 50. 50
  51. 51. 51
  52. 52. 52 Jan 2012
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. 54
  55. 55. 55
  56. 56. 56 Jun 2011
  57. 57. 57
  58. 58. 58
  59. 59. 59 Information about plot, character and themes
  60. 60. 60 Plot The story begins when George and Lennie prepare to arrive at a ranch to work - and ends in tragedy just four days later. During those four days, we learn not only about the friendship and dreams George and Lennie share, but about a small community of lonely people on the ranch - all of whom are affected by the events. The story is told in the third person, so we are provided with a clear, unbiased view of all the characters. Section 1 George and Lennie camp in the brush, by a pool, the night before starting new jobs as ranch hands. George finds Lennie stroking a dead mouse in his pocket. He complains that caring for Lennie prevents him from living a freer life. We find out that Lennie's innocent petting of a girl's dress led to them losing their last jobs in Weed. However, when they talk about their dream of getting a piece of land together, we know they really depend on each other. Section 2 When they arrive at the ranch in the morning, George and Lennie are shown around by old Candy. They meet their boss and, later, his son, Curley - George is suspicious of Curley's manner and warns Lennie to stay away from him. They see Curley's pretty and, apparently, flirtatious wife and meet some of their fellow workers, Slim and Carlson.
  61. 61. 61 Section 3 Later that evening, George tells Slim about why he and Lennie travel together and more about what happened in Weed. The men talk about Candy's ancient dog, which is tired and ill. Carlson shoots it, as an act of kindness. George tells Candy about their dream of getting a piece of land and Candy eagerly offers to join them - he has capital, so they could make it happen almost immediately. Curley provokes Lennie into a fight, which ends up with Lennie severely injuring Curley's hand. Section 4 The following night, most men on the ranch go into town. Crooks is alone in his room when Lennie joins him. They talk about land - Crooks is sceptical, not believing that George and Lennie are going to do what so many other men he's known have failed to do, and get land of their own. Yet when Candy happens to come in as well, Crooks is convinced and asks to be in on it too. Curley's wife arrives. She threatens Crooks and an argument develops. Crooks realises he can never really be part of George, Lennie and Candy's plan.
  62. 62. 62 Section 5 Next afternoon, Lennie accidentally kills the puppy that Slim had given him by petting it too much. He's sad. Curley's wife finds him and starts talking very openly about her feelings. She invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but he does it so strongly she panics and he ends up killing her too. He runs away to hide, as George had told him. Candy finds the body and tells George. They tell the other men - Curley wants revenge. Section 6 Lennie hides in the brush by the pool. He dreams of his Aunt Clara and the rabbits he will tend when he and George get their land. George finds Lennie and talks reassuringly to him about the little place they will have together - then shoots him with Carlson's gun. When the other men find George, they assume he shot Lennie in self-defence. Only Slim understands what George did and why.
  63. 63. 63 Sequence of events Section Day & Time Location Characters Main events 1 Thursday evening Clearing George Lennie George & Lennie make camp for night on way to ranch. They discuss the past, their dreams, and plans if things go wrong at the ranch. 2 Friday lunch time Bunkhouse Candy, George Lennie, The Boss, Curley, Curley’s Candy shows them around, they meet the boss, who is suspicious. Curley threatens Lennie. Curley’s wife flirts with Lennie. Slim mentions his pups, Carlson discusses
  64. 64. 64 Characters wife, Slim, Carlson killing Candy’s dog. 3 Friday evening Bunkhouse George, Slim, Whit, Carlson, Candy, Lennie, Curley Slim has given Lennie a pup. George and Slim discuss Lennie over cards, George tells Slim about Weed. Whit finds a letter in a magazine. Carlson shoots Candy’s dog. Candy comes in on the plan. Lennie break’s Curley’s hand. 4 Saturday evening Crooks’ room Crooks, Lennie, Candy, Curley’s wife, George Crooks talks to Lennie about himself and land, Candy joins in, Curley’s wife argues with them, George comes in and they leave. 5 Sunday afternoon Barn Lennie, Curley’s wife, Candy, Slim, Curley, Carlson Lennie has killed his puppy. Lennie & Curley’s wife talk, he breaks her neck & runs away. Candy finds her, Curley wants to kill Lennie. 6 late Sunday afternoon Clearing Lennie, George, Slim, Carlson Lennie is waiting in the clearing, sees visions. George arrives & shoots Lennie while telling him about the plan. The other men arrive.
  65. 65. 65 George: A travelling farm worker, friend and protector of Lennie. He is small, but intelligent and quick-witted. Like Lennie, George can be defined by a few distinct characteristics. He is short- tempered but a loving and devoted friend, whose frequent protests against life with Lennie never weaken his commitment to protecting his friend. George’s first words, a stern warning to Lennie not to drink so much lest he get sick, set the tone of their relationship. George may be terse and impatient at times, but he never strays from his primary purpose of protecting Lennie. Unlike Lennie, however, George does change as the story progresses. The reader learns that he is capable of change and growth during his conversation with Slim, during which he admits that he once abused Lennie for his own amusement. From this incident George learned the moral lesson that it is wrong to take advantage of the weak. Of Mice and Men follows him toward a difficult realization that the world is designed to prey on the weak. At the start of the novella, George is something of an idealist. Despite his hardened, sometimes gruff exterior, he believes in the story of their future farm that he tells and retells to Lennie. He longs for the day when he can enjoy the freedom to leave work and see a baseball game. More important than a ball game, however, is the thought of living in safety and comfort with Lennie, free from people like Curley and Curley’s wife, who seem to exist only to cause trouble for them. Lennie is largely responsible for George’s belief in this safe haven, but eventually the predatory nature of the world asserts itself and George can no longer maintain that belief. By shooting Lennie, George spares his friend the merciless death that would be delivered by Curley’s lynch mob, but he also puts to rest his own dream of a perfect, fraternal world. Section Page The quotation What it shows
  66. 66. 66 Lennie: A huge child-like man who travels with George. He is incapable of looking after himself, is extremely strong and is fascinated by small, soft things like mice and puppies. Although Lennie is among the principal characters in Of Mice and Men, he is perhaps the least dynamic. He undergoes no significant changes, development, or growth throughout the story and remains exactly as the reader encounters him in the opening pages. Simply put, he loves to pet soft things, is blindly devoted to George and their vision of the farm, and possesses incredible physical strength. Nearly every scene in which Lennie appears confirms these and only these characteristics. Although Steinbeck’s insistent repetition of these characteristics makes Lennie a rather flat character, Lennie’s simplicity is central to Steinbeck’s conception of the novella. Of Mice and Men is a very short work that manages to build up an extremely powerful impact. Since the tragedy depends upon the outcome seeming to be inevitable, the reader must know from the start that Lennie is doomed, and must be sympathetic to him. Steinbeck achieves these two feats by creating a protagonist who earns the reader’s sympathy because of his utter helplessness in the face of the events that unfold. Lennie is totally defenseless. He cannot avoid the dangers presented by Curley, Curley’s wife, or the world at large. His innocence raises him to 1 p 19 ‘The first man … sharp, strong features.’ Describes. Sounds sharp/quick- witted. Note language. 1 p 21 ‘So you forgot that … a crazy bastard!’ Impatient. Bullies Lennie. Language style aggressive. 1 p 24 ‘God, you’re a lot of trouble … maybe have a girl.’ Regrets his promise sometimes. Sees how life could be alone. Emotive. 1 p 31–2 ‘Guys like us … They don’t belong no place.’ ‘With us it ain’t like that … that gives a damn about us.’ Compares their relationship to other lonely souls. Makes them different. Their dream. Lyrical, song-like language. 2 p 44 ‘He’s my … cousin.’ Sticks up for Lennie. Lies for him, even if mad. 2 p 45 ‘You waspokin’ … nosey.’ Defensive/protective. 2 p 52 ‘Hide till I come for you … Say that over.’ Protective. Clever. Senses danger. 3 p 87–8 ‘George said reverently … I bet we could swing her.’ Starts to believe dream will come true – Candy’s money. Hopeful tone. 5 p 130 ‘Oh Jesus Christ … and his eyes were hard and tight as wood, and his eyes were hard.’ His reaction. Dream over. Shuts off feelings. Note use of imagery (simile) to express. 6 p 147 ‘No … I want ya to know.’ Last kind words. 6 p 147–8 ‘And George … and then he threw it from him.’ Kills Lennie. Has to push himself. Thinks it’s for best.
  67. 67. 67 a standard of pure goodness that is more poetic and literary than realistic. His enthusiasm for the vision of their future farm proves contagious as he convinces George, Candy, Crooks, and the reader that such a paradise might be possible. But he is a character whom Steinbeck sets up for disaster, a character whose innocence only seems to ensure his inevitable destruction. Section Page The quotation What it shows 1 p 19 ‘Behind him walked … a bear drags its paws.’ Describes. Stress on animal-like. 1 p 20–1 ‘Lennie, who had been … imitated George exactly.’ Copies George. Looks up to him. Father figure. 1 p 24 ‘Lennie droned … I ain’tgonna say nothin’.’ Has to be told like a child. Can’t remember. Style. 1 p 32 ‘Go on, George … rabbits.’ Lennie’s simple dream 2 p 43 ‘Lennie smiled … Strong as a bull.’ Forgetful/childlike. Language matches. 3 p 91 ‘Curley’s fist … Lennie’s big hand.’ Fights back. Shows strength. Won’t let go – hint for later (C’s wife). 4 p 101 ‘It ain’tno lie. We’re gonna do it. Gonna get a little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’.’ Lennie’s dream. Key phrase. 4 p 104 ‘Who hurt George? … Lennie growled back to his seat …’ Basic reaction; animal imagery. Reacts to Crooks’ teasing. 5 p 120 ‘Lennie sat in the barn and looked at the little dead puppy …’ Foreshadowing. Symbolic. Uncontrolled power. 5 p 121 ‘Lennie began to cry … tend no rabbits.’ He panics. Doesn’t know own strength. 6 p 140 ‘Suddenly Lennie … as a creeping bear moves.’ Animal imagery; naturalistic surroundings. Mood matches. 6 p 141–3 Aunt Clara vision/giant rabbit Symbolism – but what does it represent? State of mind? His past? Flashback narration? 6 p 141 ‘George gonna give me hell … botherin’ him’ Aware that G. will be angry. Like a child. 6 p 147 ‘No Lennie … Lennie obeyed him.’ Trusts him. Doesn’t know. Crooks: Looks after the horses (the ‘stable buck’). A victim of prejudice, Crooks is the only black worker on the ranch, a proud and lonely man who seeks respect through his learning. Crooks is a lively, sharp-witted, black stable-hand, who takes his name from his crooked back. Like most of the characters in the story, he admits that he is extremely lonely. When Lennie visits him in his room, his reaction reveals this fact. At first, he turns Lennie away, hoping to prove a point that if he, as a black man, is not allowed in white men’s houses, then whites are not allowed in his, but his desire for company ultimately wins out and he invites Lennie to sit with him. Like Curley’s wife, Crooks is a disempowered character who turns his vulnerability into a weapon to attack those who are even weaker. He plays a cruel game with Lennie, suggesting to him that
  68. 68. 68 George is gone for good. Only when Lennie threatens him with physical violence does he relent. Crooks exhibits the corrosive effects that loneliness can have on a person; his character evokes sympathy as the origins of his cruel behavior are made evident. Perhaps what Crooks wants more than anything else is a sense of belonging—to enjoy simple pleasures such as the right to enter the bunkhouse or to play cards with the other men. This desire would explain why, even though he has reason to doubt George and Lennie’s talk about the farm that they want to own, Crooks cannot help but ask if there might be room for him to come along and hoe in the garden. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 41 ‘The boss gives him hell when he’s mad.’ Victim. 2 p 41 Fight at Xmas Seen as lower/entertainment. 3 p 77 ‘The door opened quietly … a lean negro head, lined with pain, the eye patient.’ Description/action reveals personality. 4 p 98 ‘ … and being a stable buck and a cripple … .more possessions than he could carry on his back.’ Different outlook on life of itinerant ranch hands; tied to one place. Dependent? Vulnerable? 4 p 98–99 ‘Crooks possessed … above his bed.’ Crooks’ things = his beliefs/attitude. Symbolic. 4 p 99 ‘He kept his distance and demanded other people kept theirs.’ Proud; aloof. Metaphor. 4 p 99– 100 ‘Crooks said sharply … any right in here but me.’ Proud and protective. Keeps himself to himself. 4 p 100 ‘ … I got a right to have a light’ ‘I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t wanted in my room.’ Sensitive to prejudice; feels able to act superior to Lennie. 4 p 102 Story about his background: used to be more prosperous. Link to dream? Wasn’t always in this position: now sees himself as ‘just a nigger talkin’, an a busted back nigger. So it don’t mean nothing, see?’ 4 p 103 ‘S’pose George don’t come back no more.’ ‘Crooks’ face lighted with pleasure at the torture.’ Torments Lennie. Cf to his own treatment? What does it say about him? 4 p 105 ‘A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody … a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.’ Isolation – emotions.
  69. 69. 69 4 p 105 ‘If some other guy was … it would be alright.’ Crooks’ dream – a friend. (Like G and L.) 4 p 105–6 ‘The stable buck went on dreamily …’ (paragraph) Crooks’ idyllic dream ranch cfCh 1/3 G and L. Use of flashback narration to his happier past. 4 p 106 ‘Nobody gets to heaven, and nobody never gets no land.’ Cynical. Note comparison of heaven and land: American dream. 4 p 107 ‘Come on in … difficult for Crooks to conceal his pleasure with anger.’ Enjoys company. Tone of voice changes. 4 p 109 ‘If you … guys … work like a son- of-a-bitch if I want to.’ Buys into their dream. 4 p 113 ‘I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t funny.’ Curley’s wife uses society’s prejudice to put Crooks down. 4 p 113 ‘Crooks had reduced himself to nothing.’ Metaphor to express emotion: harsh reality. 4 p 116 ‘Member what I said … Jus’ foolin’ Wants their dream – but backs off. Loner. Realist? Curley’s wife:A pretty, lonely woman who dreams of being a film star. We never learn her name. She is newly married to Curley. We never know her name - she is merely Curley's 'property' with no individual identity. She is young, pretty, wears attractive clothes and curls her hair. She seems flirtatious and is always hanging around the bunk-house. She is lonely - there are no other women to talk to and Curley is not really interested in her. "What kinda harm am I doin' to you? Seems like they ain'tnone of them cares how I gotta live. I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin' of myself." She doesn't like Curley - she tells Lennie that she only married him when she didn't receive a letter she'd been promised to get into Hollywood. She is naive. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 49–50 ‘Well, I … A tart.’ Candy has a low opinion of her flirting. 2 p 53 ‘A girl was standing … nasal, brittle quality.’ Full description. Clothes/voice match her personality. Artificial. 2 p 54 ‘Don’t you even … leave her be.’ George sees her as a threat (jail bait). 3 p 78 ‘Been any trouble … here.’ ‘She’s gonna make a mess … trigger.’ Foreshadowing by George. Opinion on women as temptation/trouble.
  70. 70. 70 4 p 110 ‘They left all the weak ones here …’ Cruel portrayal. Is she included? 4 p 110 p 114 ‘Sure I got a husban’. … Swell guy, ain’t he?’ ‘I’m glad you bust Curley up … I’d like to bust him myself.’ Disillusioned with marriage; no one to confide in; bitter. Uses sarcasm. 4 p 111 ‘You bindle bums … he could put me in pitchers.’ Her dream = film star. Name calls. Childish behaviour. 4 p 111 ‘I tell you … Maybe I will yet.’ All = her dreams/hopes when younger. Bitter now. 4 p 113 ‘Well you keep your place … it ain’t even funny.’ Threatens Crooks. Knows power. Fits image. What’s Steinbeck doing? 5 p 122–3 ‘I get so lonely … How’d you like not to talk to nobody?’ Isolation. 5 p 124–5 ‘I live right in Salinas … from the rest.’ Flashback narration to provide an insight into previous life cf Crooks Ch 4. Provoking empathy by Steinbeck? 5 p 128–9 Description of death Powerful graphic language. 5 p 128 ‘And she continued … her body flopped like a fish.’ Ends as a victim. Describes her terror. Powerless – like on ranch. 5 p 129 ‘And the meanness … her lips were parted.’ Cf description Ch 2. Natural description sharp contrast. Why? Discuss language.
  71. 71. 71 Candy An elderly man who has lost one hand in an accident on the ranch. He looks after the bunkhouse. A fount of knowledge about people there. One of the book’s major themes and several of its dominant symbols revolve around Candy. The old handyman, aging and left with only one hand as the result of an accident, worries that the boss will soon declare him useless and demand that he leave the ranch. Of course, life on the ranch—especially Candy’s dog, once an impressive sheep herder but now toothless, foul-smelling, and brittle with age—supports Candy’s fears. Past accomplishments and current emotional ties matter little, as Carson makes clear when he insists that Candy let him put the dog out of its misery. In such a world, Candy’s dog serves as a harsh reminder of the fate that awaits anyone who outlives his usefulness. For a brief time, however, the dream of living out his days with George and Lennie on their dream farm distracts Candy from this harsh reality. He deems the few acres of land they describe worthy of his hard-earned life’s savings, which testifies to his desperate need to believe in a world kinder than the one in which he lives. Like George, Candy clings to the idea of having the freedom to take up or set aside work as he chooses. So strong is his devotion to this idea that, even after he discovers that Lennie has killed Curley’s wife, he pleads for himself and George to go ahead and buy the farm as planned. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 38 ‘The door opened … in his left hand.’ Describes him and job. 2 p 41–2 ‘The old swamper … out of the door.’ Scared of Boss. Likes a quiet life. 2 p 45 ‘I didn’t hear nothing … nor he don’t ast no questions.’ Uneasy. Willing to please. A loner. 3 p 72 ‘Candy looked for help from face to face.’ Alone. Symbolic. 3 p 74 ‘At last … .and stared at the ceiling.’ Very upset about dog but no power. Accepts. Symbolism of death.
  72. 72. 72 3 pp 87–89 –shared dream L/G/Ca ‘S’pose … How’d that be?’ ‘Candy interrupted … right now.’ His dream – to join in. Prepared to pay. Scared to end like his dog/alone. 4 p 108–9 ‘Candy cried, ‘Sure they all want it … He stopped overwhelmed with his picture.’ Outlines his dream to Crooks; overcome with the dream. 4 p 111 ‘But a change came over old Candy … You ain’t wanted here.’ New sense of fraternity makes him bold with Curley’s wife. Note emotive language. 4 p 114 ‘No … listen to us.’ Passive/powerless 5 p 131 ‘What we gonna do now, George?’ Passive: looks for guidance – a follower. Use of questions to show. 5 p 131 ‘Now Candy spoke his greatest fear … He knew.’ End of his dream. Blames C’s wife p 132 ‘You lousy tart/you god- damn tramp.’ Curley The Boss’s son: a small, angry ex-boxer who is always ready to pick a fight. He has been married a fortnight. Curley is the boss's son, so he doesn't need to work like the ordinary ranch hands, and he has time to kill. He's little - so he hates big guys. He is a prize-fighter and looks for opportunities for a fight. "He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious." He is newly-married and is very possessive of his wife - but he still visits brothels. There is a rumour that he wears a glove filled with Vaseline to keep his hand soft for his wife. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 46 ‘He glanced coldly … calculating and pugnacious.’ Aggressive on meeting people. Keen to make impression. 2 p 47 ‘Curley lashed … getting into it for?’ Aggressive.
  73. 73. 73 2 p 51 ‘Curley’s like a lot of little guys … he ain’t a big guy.’ Curley = a fighter. A threat to Lennie. Builds tension. 3 p 80 ‘Curley burst into the room … seen my wife?’ he demanded. Insecure about wife and status. Challenging language. 3 p 81 ‘Where the hell’s Slim?’ Threatened by Slim. 3 p 90 ‘Curley glared … show yawho’syella.’ Attacks Lennie. Coward. Scared of Slim/Carlson (p 87– 90). 3 p 92 ‘Curley was white … his fist lost in Lennie’s paw.’ Weak; Lennie described as an animal (image). 3 p 93 ‘I won’t tell … Lennie.’ Humiliated. 5 p 133 p 134 ‘Curley came suddenly to life …’ ‘Shoot for his guts.’ Violent reaction matches violent language. Slim The antithesis of Curley, Slim is a tall, thoughtful man- a natural leader. An expert worker who everyone looks up to. Slim is described always in terms of dignity and majesty. When he first comes into the bunkhouse, he moves "with a majesty achieved only by royalty and master craftsmen. He was a jerk-line skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders." Slim is tall, ageless, and an expert in his job. His voice is the voice of rationalism. When Carlson suggests killing Candy's dog, Candy appeals to Slim as the final authority. Slim is so respected and admired on the ranch that even Curley listens to him. When Lennie smashes Curley's hand, Slim is the one who intercedes and tells Curley he will not have George and Lennie fired. Slim understands Curley's fear of ridicule, and he uses that fear to help George and Lennie. Slim also inspires confidences because he is not judgmental. When George first meets Slim, George tells him about Lennie's troubles in Weed. George senses in Slim a person of intelligence and empathy who will not be mean to Lennie, make fun of him, or take advantage of him.
  74. 74. 74 Slim is the only one on the ranch who appreciates the difficulty of George's position. He understands the constant oversight George must exercise in watching Lennie and keeping him out of trouble. It is Slim, in the end, who suggests that George did the right thing in killing Lennie mercifully. He explains the alternative: "An s'pose they lock him up an' strap him down and put him in a cage. That ain'tno good, George." Slim is present at every crucial juncture in the story: the death of Candy's dog, the smashing of Curley's hand, finding the body of Curley's wife, at the pool after George has shot Lennie. In each case, there is violence or the threat of it. Each time Slim helps make the assessment to do what is merciful or what is right. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 55–6 ‘A tall man … a temple dancer.’ Full description of personality. ‘Prince of the ranch’. Lyrical description. 2 p 57 ‘You guys … confidence without demanding it.’ Good listener. Non-judgemental. 2 p 57 ‘Ain’t many guys … scared of each other.’ Comment on friendship. Accepts G and L. 3 p 64 ‘Maybe he ain’t bright … worker.’ Judges people on actions. 3 p 65 ‘Slim neither encouraged … receptive.’ Trustworthy. People e.g. George confide in him. 3 p 66 ‘ … and saw the calm, Godlike eyes … him.’ Status. Imagery. 3 p 74 ‘Candy looked … Slim’s opinions were law.’ Slim = important. Decides about the dog. Men look up to him. 3 p 77 ‘Oh! Hello, Crooks … matter.’ Treats Crooks differently. 3 p 89–90 ‘Well you been askin’ me … what do you expect me to do about it?’ Will defend himself against Curley. Strength. 3 p 92 ‘If you don’t tell … an’ then will you get the laugh.’ Sorts out situation. Authority over Curley. Ch 4 p 107 ‘Guys don’t come into a colored guy’s room very much. Nobody been here but Slim.’ Slim behaves differently. Lack of prejudice? Ch 5 p 133 ‘Then Slim went quietly over to her … the spell was broken.’ Different reaction. Calm language. Use of metaphor to suggest influence on others. Ch 5 p 134 ‘Slim sighed. ‘Well I guess we got to get to him.’ Sympathetic. Non-judgemental. Tries to divert Curley. Ch 6 p 148 ‘Slim came directly … very close to him.’ Understands. Protects George. Respects him.
  75. 75. 75 The Boss A small stocky man who owns the ranch. Suspicious and short-tempered but considered a ‘good’ boss. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 41 ‘A little stocky man … not a labouring man.’ Describes. Shows he’s different. 2 p 43 ‘I said what stake … his pay away from him?’ Suspicious of people. Aggressive. A bully. 2 p 43 ‘I never seen one guy take so much trouble … interest is.’ Can’t believe in relationship: unusual.
  76. 76. 76 Carlson A ranch worker, Carlson is powerfully built and a bully, with little understanding of people’s feelings. He owns a Lugar pistol. Section Page The quotation What it shows 2 p 57 ‘A powerful … bunkhouse.’ Description 2 p 57 ‘He ain’t very small … joke.’ Makes fun of people. 2 p 58 ‘Why’n’t you get Candy … raise up.’ Lack of emotion. Pragmatic. 2 p 59 ‘Carlson stepped back … door.’ Respects Slim. 3 p 70– 1/74 ‘Tell you what … back of the head.’ Brutal reality. 3 p 90 ‘You God damn punk … I’ll kick your God damn head off.’ Brutal. Physically unafraid of Curley. Follows Slim’s lead. 5 p 133 ‘Carlson said, ‘I’ll get my Luger.’ Simple reaction; simple straightforward language. Simple sentence. 6 p 149 ‘Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?’ Final symbolic comment; lack of empathy/incomprehension. Use of metaphor. Why did Steinbeck choose Carlson’s voice to finish? Structure notes 1 a The fact that each chapter has a single setting makes it easy to produce as a play. In some novels the action flits from one setting to another quite quickly. A character could be in bed, in the kitchen, in the street, on a train — all in the space of a few minutes. This kind of action would be difficult to show on stage. In Of Mice and Men, on the other hand, each section/scene is easy to stage. The indoor scenes, in the bunk house, Crooks’s room and the barn, are easiest to show, but even the first and last scenes, by the river, would not be hard to suggest with appropriate lighting and sound effects. b Each section begins with a description of the scene. This gives Steinbeck an opportunity for the kind of detailed descriptive writing that he does so well.
  77. 77. 77 More than this, however, it provides stage directions telling anyone producing the novel as a play exactly how each scene should look. c After the two main characters have been introduced in the first section, each subsequent section focuses on at least one major piece of action. The narrowed focus — on a single event — in the last three sections helps to speed up the action. d In plays, the action is often spread over a short period of time because this makes it easier to build up and sustain dramatic momentum, and there is no need to find a device to let the audience know that a long period of time has passed. e Apart from George, Lennie and Candy, we find out something about important characters before they appear in person. Candy tells George and Lennie (and therefore us) about the boss, Curley, Curley’s wife and Crooks. The boss gives a brief description of Slim. This helps to fix them in our minds — which is helpful in a play, where the audience needs to grasp quickly who everyone is. 2 The novel begins and ends at the pool by the Salinas River. It begins with peace and innocence and with the two men’s dream of happiness. It ends with Lennie still essentially innocent and George still poor and landless. But in a sense Lennie has entered the ‘promised land’ of the dream, with the help of George’s suggestion and his own faith and imagination. 3 The main source of tension is Curley’s wife and her unhappy relationship with Curley. A different kind of tension exists between dreams and harsh reality. Both kinds of tension contribute to the death of Curley’s wife.
  78. 78. 78 Themes Nature of Dreams In essence, Of Mice and Men is as much a story about the nature of human dreams and aspirations and the forces that work against them as it is the story of two men. Humans give meaning to their lives — and to their futures — by creating dreams. Without dreams and goals, life is an endless stream of days that have little connection or meaning. George and Lennie's dream — to own a little farm of their own — is so central to Of Mice and Men that it appears in some form in five of the six sections. In fact, the telling of the story, which George has done so often, becomes a
  79. 79. 79 ritual between the two men: George provides the narrative, and Lennie, who has difficulty remembering even simple instructions, picks up the refrain by finishing George's sentences. To George, this dream of having their own place means independence, security, being their own boss, and, most importantly, being "somebody." To Lennie, the dream is like the soft animals he pets: It means security, the responsibility of tending to the rabbits, and a sanctuary where he won't have to be afraid. To Candy, who sees the farm as a place where he can assert a responsibility he didn't take when he let Carlson kill his dog, it offers security for old age and a home where he will fit in. For Crooks, the little farm will be a place where he can have self-respect, acceptance, and security. For each man — George, Lennie, Candy, and Crooks — human dignity is an integral part of the dream. Having and sharing the dream, however, are not enough to bring it to fruition. Each man must make a sacrifice or battle some other force that seeks, intentionally or not, to steal the dream away. Initially, the obstacles are difficult but not insurmountable: staying out of trouble, not spending money on liquor or in bordellos, and working at the ranch long enough to save the money for a down payment. But greater obstacles soon become apparent. Some of these obstacles are external (the threat from Curley's wife and Curley's violence, for example, as well as the societal prejudices that plague each man); others are internal (such as Lennie's strength and his need to touch soft things). For George, the greatest threat to the dream is Lennie himself; ironically, it is Lennie who also makes the dream worthwhile. Loneliness In addition to dreams, humans crave contact with others to give life meaning. Loneliness is present throughout this novel. On the most obvious level, we see this isolation when the ranch hands go into town on Saturday night to ease their loneliness with alcohol and women. Similarly, Lennie goes into Crook's room to find someone with whom to talk, and later Curley's wife comes for the same reason. Crooks says, "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you." Even Slim mentions, "I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain'tno good. They don't have no fun. After a long time they get mean." George's taking care of Lennie and the dream of the farm are attempts to break the pattern of loneliness that is part of the human condition. Similarly, Lennie's desire to pet soft things comes from his need to feel safe and secure, to touch something that gives him that feeling of not being alone in the world. For Lennie, the dream of the farm parallels that security. George and Lennie, however, are not the only characters who struggle against loneliness. Although present in all the characters to some degree, the theme of loneliness is most notably present in Candy, Crooks, and Curley's wife. They all fight against their isolation in whatever way they can. Until its death, Candy's dog stopped Candy from being alone in the world. After its death, Candy struggles against
  80. 80. 80 loneliness by sharing in George and Lennie's dream. Curley's wife is also lonely; she is the only female on the ranch, and her husband has forbidden anyone to talk with her. She combats her loneliness by flirting with the ranch hands. Crooks is isolated because of his skin color. As the only black man on the ranch, he is not allowed into the bunkhouse with the others, and he does not associate with them. He combats his loneliness with books and his work, but even he realizes that these things are no substitute for human companionship. Steinbeck reinforces the theme of loneliness in subtle and not so subtle ways. In the vicinity of the ranch, for example, is the town of Soledad. The town's name, not accidentally, means "solitude" or "alone." Also, the others' reactions to George and Lennie traveling together reinforces that, in Steinbeck's world, traveling with someone else is unusual. When George and Lennie arrive at the ranch, four other characters — the boss, Candy, Crooks, and Slim — all comment on the suspicious nature of two guys traveling together. This companionship seems strange and, according to at least the boss and Curley, the relationship is sexual or exploitative financially. Barriers Unfortunately, despite a need for companionship, people set up barriers that maintain loneliness, and they sustain those barriers by being inhumane to each other. One barrier is based on gender: The bunkhouse is a male world, where women are not to be trusted. While Curley's wife is always looking for attention, Curley's jealousy causes all the hands to stay away from her. Although Curley's wife is often portrayed as cruel and troublesome (and therefore, we can see why she is left alone), the real thing that isolates her is that she is a female in an all-male world. Race is another barrier. Crooks, for example, must occupy a room in the stable alone, and he is not welcome in the bunkhouse. For Candy, the barriers are age and handicap. He is afraid that, when he is too old to work, he will be thrown out on the ash heap, a victim of a society that does not value age and discriminates against handicaps. Powerlessness Steinbeck's characters are often the underdogs, and he shows compassion toward them throughout the body of his writings. Powerlessness takes many forms — intellectual, financial, societal — and Steinbeck touches on them all. Although Lennie is physically strong and would therefore seem to represent someone of power, the only power Lennie possesses is physical. Because of his mental handicap and his child-like way of perceiving the world, he is powerless against his urges and the forces that assail him. For example, he knows what it is to be good, and he doesn't want to be bad, but he lacks the mental acuity that would help him understand and, therefore, avoid the dangers that unfold before him. Hence, he must rely on George to protect him. George, in this regard, is also powerless. Although he can instruct Lennie on what to do and not do, and although he perceives the danger posed by Curley's wife, he cannot be with Lennie every hour
  81. 81. 81 of every day and, therefore, cannot truly protect Lennie from himself. In the end, the only thing that George can do is protect Lennie from the others. Another type of powerlessness is economic. Because the ranch hands are victims of a society where they cannot get ahead economically, they must struggle again and again. George and Lennie face overwhelming odds in trying to get together a mere $600 to buy their own land. But they are not the only ones who have shared the dream of owning land, nor the only ones who have difficulty securing the mean by which to do it. As Crooks explains, "I seen guys nearly crazy with loneliness for land, but ever' time a whorehouse or a blackjack game took what it takes." In other words, it is part of the human condition to always want instant gratification rather than save for tomorrow. As long as the men spend their money on the weekends, they will continue to be powerless. On the other hand, living lives of unremitting loneliness and harshness makes companionship — even for a weekend — alluring enough to overshadow a dream. Furthermore, the men are paid so little that it is difficult to save enough to make a dream come true. Crooks represents another type of powerlessness. As the sole black man on the ranch, he is isolated from the others, and, in ways that the others are not, subject to their whim. This is never more apparent than when Curley's wife threatens to have him lynched. Despite his inherent dignity, Crooks shrinks into himself, essentially becoming invisible under her assault. The fact that she, another powerless person, wields such power over him demonstrates how defenceless he is in this society. Fate Life's unpredictable nature is another subject that defines the human condition. The title of the novel is taken from the poem of Robert Burns, "To a Mouse On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with a Plow," November, 1785. Burns wrote that "The best laid schemes o' mice and men / Gang aft a-gley [often go astray], / Andlea'v us nought but grief and pain, / For promised joy." Just when it appears that George and Lennie will get their farm, fate steps in. Lennie just happens to be in the barn burying his dead pup when Curley's wife comes in. In this case, fate is given a hand by Lennie's inability to control his strength and understand what to do. Nevertheless, often life seems unpredictable and full of overwhelming difficulties. Christian, Classical, and Natural Influences Many critics have compared Of Mice and Men to influences from John Milton's Paradise Lost and the Bible. And, indeed, many of the events of Steinbeck's novel parallel the biblical stories of the loss of paradise and Cain and Abel. Of particular relevance to Of Mice and Men is the question posed in the biblical story of Cain and Abel: Am I my brother's keeper? Also relevant is the story of Adam and Eve and their being cast out of Eden. Although a biblical story, this story is also the basis of John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, which describes Lucifer's (Satan's) fall from heaven and the creation of hell, as well as Eve and Adam's fall from grace.
  82. 82. 82 Throughout his novel Steinbeck uses nature to reflect the mood of the scenes and provide locations that reinforce themes. Steinbeck was a lover of nature, particularly the California countryside, and he uses nature in this story as both a place of sanctuary and also a reflection of foreboding. Loss of Paradise There are parallels between the biblical tale of Adam and Eve and the events that transpire in Of Mice and Men. Of particular interest are the nature of imperfect humans, the presence of temptation, and the consequences of doing, as Lennie would say, a "bad thing." The story of Adam and Eve's fall from grace is a tale of how even our "best laid plans" go astray because of the imperfection of our humanity. Though mankind was created in God's image, man's reaction to temptation causes him to lose his way. Just as man is imperfect, so Lennie represents the flawed human appetite that makes the chance for Eden futile. His desire to touch soft things and his inability to foresee the results of his actions put him in a collision course with other human beings. While he sometimes realizes he has "done a bad thing," he often loses his way because of temptation. The girl in Weed and Curley's wife are both temptations that encouraged his curiosity and that he could not resist. Curley's wife also has a part to play, as the serpent in the garden. She is temptation — a liar and a manipulator of men in order to get her way. She could also be compared to Eve. In the Garden of Eden, Eve is curious about the forbidden tree. She tempts Adam and manipulates him in order to get her way. Like Eve, Curley's wife is curious about Lennie. From the moment she realizes he is the "machine" that hurt her husband, she is attracted to his strength. When they talk in the barn, she invites him to touch her soft hair, not realizing the consequences. Her actions are innocent, but the consequences are vast. Just as Eve's actions caused mankind to be sent out of the perfect place, Curley's wife's actions tempt Lennie, whose subsequent actions cause him and the others to lose their dream of a little farm. Also, because Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden for disobeying God, mankind is forced to live a pattern of loneliness and wandering, having thrown away existence in Eden. Steinbeck reinforces this idea when George asks about the worker who used to inhabit his bunk and is told by Candy that he just left, saying, "'gimme my time' one night like any guy would." George takes his spot, bringing Lennie along, an action causing suspicion in the minds of others on the ranch. Guys don't travel together. Even Slim comments on their unusual companionship. In the end, with Lennie's death, George is once again sentenced to wander alone and to reflect on the loss of Lennie in his life.
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