Opening section The novel opens with a description of the country around the Salinas. Steinbeck has a very detailed descriptive style that I hope you noticed. To help you get to grips with it I’d like you to work in pairs to find examples of the following:• Simlie• Metaphor• Personification• Onomatopoeia
• What type of atmosphere is created in the first three paragraphs?• Quote a description from the first section that you think helps to create this atmosphere.
ForeshadowingForeshadowing is a technique used to suggestor predict what might happen next or later.What foreshadowing has been used so far inthe first section to warn us about what mighthappen in the future?Now in your pairs write a short summary ofwhat the first section is about.
Themes While we read the next section pay attention to the following main themes that run through the novel:• Loneliness• Dreams vs Reality• Injustice
Symbols• A symbol is something which stands for something more important than it might at first seem. For example (not in this novel) some people may see a car as a symbol of their success (if it’s an expensive one), or as a symbol of freedom (if they like to be able to go where they want) or as a symbol of what’s wrong with their marriage (if a wife thinks that her husband loves his car more than he loves her).
Curley’s wife• Re-read the description of Curley’s wife and write down what you think the symbolism might be there. The paragraph starts: “Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine was cut off.• Pay attention to what she’s wearing
Chapter 3 - Dialogue• Dialogue means conversation so dialogue in novels means any point where characters are talking. We learn a lot about characters by what they say and not just how they are described.• ‘Of Mice and Men’ has a lot of dialogue because Steinbeck wanted his novel to be read as a book as well as a play, without making any changes.• The biggest effect of this is that Steinbeck is very distant from his characters and doesn’t tell us what they think or feel. He expects us to work it out from how they act and what they say.
• This means that you have to think more, which is a good thing;• The story also moves at a faster pace because of dialogue;• What do you learn about a character when they say; “pitcher” instead of ‘picture’. “Ain’t” instead of ‘ain’t.’ “Jes” instead of ‘just’
ActivitySteinbeck introduces us to various new characters:• Candy, the one-handed “swamper”, who sweeps the place clean• Crooks, the black stable hand (we don’t actually meet him yet)• The boss• Curley, the boss’s son• Curley’s wife• Slim, the “jerkline skinner” – the main driver of a mule team who handles the jerkline (reins) Write a sentence or two about each of these characters, giving reasons from the novel for what you say.
Parallels• As well as symbols Steinbeck also uses parallels in this novel to help us to understand the events and relate them to a bigger meaning. The first parallel we have come across is the title of the novel and Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”
To a Mouse• What parallels can you make with the poem and the story so far?