The exam – Tuesday 20 May
Section A – The Woman in Black
Answer one question from a choice of two.
Spend 45 minutes answering the question.
Section B – Of Mice and Men
Answer both part a and part b
Spend 25 minutes on part a and 20 minutes on b.
Part a will ask pupils to
respond to a specific:
theme or character in the
Part b will be a question
about how the specific
theme or character is
explored in the text as a
whole. In this part you
must show that you
understand the context of
In this passage, how does Steinbeck present Slim?
Refer closely to the passage in your answer.
and then Part (b)
In the rest of the novel, how does Steinbeck show that
some people on the ranch are considered more
important than others? How does this reflect the
society in which the novel is set?
(30 marks) SPaG: (4 marks)
You must focus on the extract.
Identify 4 quotes from the extract and ensure you
use PQEL to talk about the language/structure
(AO2) Steinbeck has chosen.
Try to make some reference to context (AO4)
Animals are symbolic of cruelty of life in 1930s.
Hands are an important tool on the ranch and are
symbolic of the role of the migrant worker.
Light and Dark – generally indoors are where negative
things happen, outdoors/nature are positive. Symbolic
of the racial segregation of the time? Think about the
irony in Curley’s wife being killed in the barn -
supposedly safe place where animals can find shelter
Nature is symbolic of safety – the river is a safe
sanctuary for George and Lennie
Novella but written like a play
6 chapters each an extended episode in the same
Cyclical – nature starts and ends the novel. Suggesting
life of migrant worker – cannot escape.
Each chapter starts with a description of the setting.
Steinbeck’s use of foreshadowing: Girl in Weed with
red dress, escape plan already agreed, shooting of
Candy’s dog and increased violence from Lennie
(mouse, hand, dog, Curley’s wife)
Simple writing style - beginning of each chapter
describes setting but most of novel uses dialogue.
Dialogue – characters given opportunity to tell
their story – voice to men who were powerless
Realistic language of 1930s itinerant workers –
swearing, racist language, sexist language
3rd person omniscient author – hidden. How does
this make the reader feel?
Using quotes from across the book.
Demonstrate understanding of the social, cultural
and historical contexts (AO4).
Part B – characters are
archetypes/symbols of the era and
ranch could be seen as microcosm of
What does each character symbolise about 1930s
Complete your chart in pairs considering what
each character represents about 1930s USA.
Part B – characters are archetypes/symbols of
the era and ranch could be seen as
microcosm of 1930s USA
Lennie - people who are mistreated/discriminated because of their mental
Curley’s wife- Eve. Also symbolic of women everywhere who are repressed
by patriarchal societies.
Curley - "small" people who may feel inferior and overcompensate by
inflating or flaunting their power and status.
Crooks - people who are discriminated against because of their race.
Candy - people who are undervalued and discriminated against because of
Carlson - people who are oblivious to the feelings of others, and who can
only be concerned about something if it affects them personally.
Slim – the hero, king, or leader. He represents those few who, in their
wisdom and strength, seem larger than life.
George is symbolic of "the everyman" – the type of normal, average person
who is found everywhere and whose feelings and actions are neither
exceptional nor terrible.
Social, cultural and historical context
Set against the background of the Great Depression. The
contrast between the driving force of American capitalism in
the 1920s and the economic hardships of the 1930s is
highlighted through the way the characters articulate their
own version of the American dream, and the fact that they
will never be able to realise their version of this dream.
Other aspects of American society – such as the role of
women, civil rights and the growing influence of Hollywood
– are present in the narrative.
The book makes a plea for sympathy and understanding for
the lonely, the excluded and the vulnerable; it is permeated
by an understanding, based on Christianity, that human
beings are fundamentally flawed.