Of Mice and Men revision


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Of Mice and Men revision

  1. 1. Of Mice and Men Revision
  2. 2. Historical Setting• 1930’s America – great depression• Shows how grim, unrewarding and lonely the life of a migrant worker was• During this time many workers travelled west to California• It was very hard to find work• Men travelled alone from farm to farm
  3. 3. The American Dream• George and Lennie’s dream of a better life on their own farm was shared by many at the time• Their dream represents the quest for a better life• The novel shows that the pursuit of happiness will not necessarily bring happiness itself
  4. 4. George and Lennie’s farm• Represents freedom – from bosses, from fear of the sack• A settled life• Makes life on the road more bearable• Fantasy until Candy’s money makes it appear attainable• The dream dies with Lennie – it was his simple faith that allowed the others to dream
  5. 5. Mice, rabbits and puppies• (many small animals meet their death at Lennie’s hands)• Lennie doesn’t know how strong he is and panics under emotional stress• Represents an escape from the harsh and cold life of a migrant worker• Lennie’s constant failure demonstrates perhaps that there is no escape for men such as him
  6. 6. Candy’s dog• Foreshadowing• The dog has outlived its usefulness; it’s continued existence is unpleasant for the men and painful for the dog itself• Slim sees killing the dog a kindness to it• Carlson kills the dog because the sight and smell of it upset him• This is an important lesson for Candy and George – Candy regrets that he did not put down the dog himself
  7. 7. The American Dream• Anyone can achieve personal success and happiness through hard work• All the characters dream of a better life• George and Lennie’s dream is powerful because of their unexpected chance that it might actually come true
  8. 8. Loneliness• George and Lennie have something that most others don’t• Their relationship is very rare• Candy, Crooks and Lennie’s wife admit their isolation• Life without friendship is empty• The reader feels very sorry for George when he is forced to kill his friend• Implies that loneliness is a fact of life and that escape is virtually impossible for the labouring poor
  9. 9. Women• Have a very limited place• George and Lennie’s trouble in Weed was the result of a misunderstanding between Lennie and a woman in a red dress, and Lennie’s death is the result of his encounter with Curley’s wife• George is suspicious of women• Curley’s wife is as desperate and lonely as the men on the ranch• Her marriage is restricting and limited• She wants attention but the only way she knows how to get male attention is through her sexuality• She is a disruptive influence – she is a danger to Lennie’s innocence
  10. 10. Narrative technique• Each chapter starts with a description of a place – the stream, the bunkhouse, Crook’s room, the stable and the stream – The description is quite poetic – repetition, alliteration, rhythm all add to the mood• Dialogue provides the reader with most of the story• Characters voice – George’s tendency to swear – Lennie’s childlike tendency to insert George’s name into many of his statements
  11. 11. Point of View• Third person narrator cantered on George or Lennie This means Steinbeck is able to report on the thoughts and feelings of the characters, but in general he allows the reader to understand them through their action and dialigue
  12. 12. Narrative structure and foreshadowing• Takes place over two days and moves forward continuously• We do learn some background information through dialogue• The story begins and ends at the stream where George and Lennie camp
  13. 13. Foreshadowing• The events early on in the novel lead to later events• The events in Weed foreshadow the episode with Curley’s wife• The shooting of Candy’s dog foreshadows Lennie’s death (they are killed with the same gun for similar reasons)• Candy’s bitter remark that he should have killed his dog himself enables the reader to understand why George shoots Lennie
  14. 14. Lennie Small• Role in the novel: – His innocent nature means that people are less defensive around him; they open up around him – This enables the reader to gain more insight into these characters – His size is a catalyst for the most dramatic parts of the novel – His relationship with George and their shared dream – sense of promise/provide mutual support
  15. 15. George Milton• Role in the novel: – Keeps Lenie out of trouble – Organiser and planner – decides the dream cannot go ahead without Lennie – Appears to have the upper hand in his friendship with Lennie, but George is also dependent on Lennie – Lennie saves George from the general migrant worker curse of loneliness – Acts in Lennie’s best interests in killing Lennie • George kills a part of himself
  16. 16. Candy• Role in the novel: – Important contribution to the plot – Presents a stark picture of an uncaring world; he is at the mercy of stronger men – Teaches George an important lesson about caring and responsibility – but he shirks the task of killing it – He realises this is a betrayal of their relationship and that he was unfair to the dog – He confides this regret to George who does not make the same mistake
  17. 17. Curley• Role in the novel: – Curley dislikes Lennie because of his size – it is inevitable that he will pick a fight with Lennie – Stage villain – His treatment of his wife makes the reader sympathise with her
  18. 18. Curley’s wife• A victim• All she wants is some human warmth but simple desires are out of reach for ordinary people• She is exploited, used and murdered
  19. 19. Crooks• Role in the novel: – Most isolated character – Retreated into himself and books to maintain his dignity – His encounter with Lennie shows that he is just as hungry for real human contact as everyone else – In questioning George’s loyalty, Crooks almost unleashes Lennie’s anger showing just how close to the surface it is in any crisis
  20. 20. Slim• Role in the novel: – One of the most sympathetic characters – Listens with understanding to the others – He stands up to Curley – shows how powerful and respected he is