The exam questions


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The exam questions

  1. 1. Of Mice and Men A663 Different Cultures text exam(25% of Lit)• This unit is a study of a literary text from a different culture. This unit is worth 25% of the GCSE Literature and will be examined in a 45 minute open book exam (so no annotation of texts please). You will have to answer ONE question on the novel, from a choice of two. The first question will be passage-based. The second question will be more general and will require comment, criticism and analysis. Your quality of written communication is also assessed in this paper.
  2. 2. Prose from Different Cultures Of Mice and Men A663 (the exam)Band Mark AO4 AO2 QWC1 40- perceptive exploration and critical sensitive understanding of the •text is legible 35 •spelling, punctuation and grammar are evaluation of a wide range of links significance and effects of writers’ accurate and assured between texts and their contexts choices of language, structure and •meaning is very clearly communicated and/or the significance of texts to form readers in different contexts2 32- thoughtful exploration and clear, critical understanding of the •text is legible 28 •spelling, punctuation and grammar are evaluation of a range of links effects of writers’ choices of accurate between texts and their contexts language, structure and form •meaning is very clearly communicated and/or the significance of texts to readers in different contexts3 27- some attempt to explore and good overall understanding that •text is legible 21 •spelling, punctuation and grammar are explain links between texts and writers’ choices of language, mainly accurate their contexts and/or the structure and form contribute to •meaning is clearly communicated significance of texts to their meaning/effect readers4 20- some understanding of links understanding of some features •text is legible 14 •some errors in spelling, punctuation and between texts and their contexts of language, structure and/or grammar and/or the significance of texts to form •meaning is clearly communicated for most their readers of the answerBelow 13-0 some straightforward comments a little response to features of •text is mostly legible4 •frequent errors in spelling, punctuation on links between texts and their language, structure and/or form and grammar contexts and/or the significance of •communication of meaning is sometimes texts to their readers hindered
  3. 3. A663 Different Cultures• You will have 45 minutes in the exam to plan and write your response so don’t waste any of this valuable time.You are being examined on:• AO2: Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings• AO4: Relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts; explain how texts have been influential and significant to self and other readers in different contexts and at different times
  4. 4. 1a How does Steinbeck’s writing make this a powerful and significant moment in the novel? Remember to support your ideas with details from the novel (that’s quotes to you and me!).JOHN STEINBECK: Of Mice and Men Curley stepped over to Lennie like a terrier. "What the hell you laughin at?" Lennie looked blankly at him. "Huh?" Then Curleys rage exploded. Come on, ya big bastard, Get up on your feet. No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me, Ill show ya whos yella." Lennie looked helplessly at George, and then he got up and tried to retreat. Curley was balanced and poised, He slashed at Lennie with his left, and then smashed down his nose with a right. Lennie gave a cry of terror. Blood welled from his nose. "George," he cried, "Make um let me alone, George." He backed until he was against the wall, and Curley followed, slugging him in the face; Lennies hands remained at his sides; he was too frightened to defend himself. George was on his feet yelling, "Get him, Lennie. Dont let him do it." Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated with terror. He cried, "Make um stop, George," Then Curley attacked his stomach and cut off his wind. Slim jumped up. "The dirty little rat," he cried, Ill get um myself." George put out his hand and grabbed Slim. "Wait a minute," he shouted. He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, "Get im, Lennie!" Lennie took his hands away from his face and looked about for George, and Curley slashed at his eyes. The big face was covered with blood. George yelled again, "I said get him." Curleys fist was swinging when Lennie reached for it. The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennies big hand, George ran down the room. "Leggo of him, Lennie. Let go." But Lennie watched in terror the flopping little man whom he held. Blood ran down Lennies face, one of his eyes was cut and closed. George slapped him in the face again and again, and still Lennie held on to the closed fist, Curley was white and shrunken by now, and his struggling had become weak. He stood crying, his fist lost in Lennies paw. George shouted over and over, "Leggo his hand, Lennie. Leggo. Slim, come help me, while the guy got any hand left." Suddenly Lennie let go his hold. He crouched cowering against the wall. "You tol me to, George," he said miserably.
  5. 5. Answering the Passage Based QuestionNotes:• Look at the key adjectives in the question and work with quotations that will suggest this is a powerful and/or significant moment in the novel.• Look to comment upon at least 5 good quotations which will allow you to answer the question.• The examiner will be expecting you to comment on contexts (AO4). These may include: working in America 1930, “rights” of migrant workers (or lack of them), threat of being fired (canned) for no good reason, the influence these types of texts have had on workers’ rights, Curley’s position on ranch and his ability to threaten workers because of who he is, Lennie’s position within society, your thoughts about how hard life was for these workers and how this knowledge has impacted upon you and your ideas of what it was like in 1930s, etc.
  6. 6. Highlight key words from the question Passage-based questionIMPORTANT SIGNIFICANT REVEALING POWERFUL HORRIFYINGMOVING VIVID DISTURBING SHOCKINGYou need to know:• What the key adjectives mean• How they can be interpretedFor Example: MOVING• Arousing or touching the emotions. What emotions?• Making a strong or vivid impression – impressive. TASK: Choose 2 of the KEY ADJECTIVES from the list. • What do the key adjectives mean? • How can they be interpreted?
  7. 7. Annotate the passage Passage-based questionYou are looking for examples of:LANGUAGE:• Movement• How they relate to other characters/how other characters view them• The setting in which the character is seen• Physical appearanceSTRUCTURE:• How a particular atmosphere (tension) is built up across a scene• Contrast• Dramatic irony• The importance of the scene in relation to the rest of the story e.g. The circular narrative Remember you must link to the context of the novel at least 2-3 points in your answer The last stage of your planning is to organise your annotations of the passage into the paragraphs/sections of your response.
  8. 8. Writing your Response Passage-based questionAim to write between 5-6 paragraphs:•Introduction•3/4 developed sections•ConclusionINTRODUCTION:An overview which sets the passage in context and summarises the author’soverall purpose.WRITING A PARAGRAPH:Mention a KEY WORD (particularly the KEY ADJECTIVE) from the question inevery paragraph.Provide EVIDENCE FROM THE TEXT for everything you say.Focus on THE AUTHOR’S PURPOSE and the WAYS this is achieved.Try to make a link with the an aspect(s) of the novel’s context.
  9. 9. Prose from Different Cultures Of Mice and Men A663 (the exam) MarkBand AO4 AO2 40-35 perceptive exploration and critical sensitive understanding of the1 evaluation of a wide range of links significance and effects of writers’ between texts and their contexts choices of language, structure and and/or the significance of texts to form readers in different contexts 32-28 thoughtful exploration and clear, critical understanding of the2 evaluation of a range of links effects of writers’ choices of between texts and their contexts language, structure and form and/or the significance of texts to readers in different contexts 27-21 some attempt to explore and good overall understanding that3 explain links between texts and writers’ choices of language, their contexts and/or the structure and form contribute to significance of texts to their readers meaning/effect
  10. 10. What is context?Context is information that is relevant to a reader’s understanding of a text.Factors such asWhere it is setWhen it is setWho wrote itThese circumstances will all influence the story and how the readerunderstands it.
  11. 11. What do we need to consider when we write about OMAM?
  12. 12. CONTEXTUAL What we know about it How it links to the story of ‘Of MiceINFORMATION and Men’The author,John SteinbeckThe GreatDepressionThe AmericanDreamThe Dustbowl
  13. 13. CONTEXTUAL What we know about it How it links to the story of ‘Of MiceINFORMATION and Men’MigrantWorkersRacialSegregationSocialInequalitySoledad, California
  14. 14. Of Mice and Men• Written in 1936, the book is set around Soledad in California
  15. 15. John Steinbeck Context of the Writer Steinbeck was born in 1902 in the Salinas Valley. The places in the book really exist – in California in the west of the United States. He wasn’t making them up.• He often worked on ranches whilst on school holidays – so he knew the life.• He loved animals, had daily contact with them when he was growing up, and kept a dog.• His parents had some land – he was a rural kid. Much of ‘Of Mice and Men’ is based upon John Steinbeck’s life and experiences and his interest in contemporary social issues – that’s why he describes things in so much detail.
  16. 16. What issues did the novel deal with?• The American Dream was dead. Poverty and starvation stalked California and other stricken states. The migrants were worse off. There had been no union to protect the workers. The rich stayed rich and the poor stayed poor. There was no more unclaimed land for the poor masses to claim as their own. Wages were low so no one could save. Many didn’t even find jobs – there was a 30% unemployment rate. Everyone was suffering, and everyone just wanted to have a better quality of life.
  17. 17. Context of the NovelThe story of George and Lennie, whilstfictional, is rooted in historical fact.The high unemployment caused by theGreat Depression resulted in peopletravelling to find work, and being hired andfired at will by powerful farm owners (likethe boss in the novel).George’s fear that the boss will refuse themwork is realistic. This should also help youto understand why the dream farm is soimportant to the characters. The migrantlifestyle led to a large section of thepopulation being fragmented, unable to putdown roots, and to social instability.
  18. 18. The American Dream For hundreds of years the USA has been associated with the promise of a new and better life.• The American Dream is the idea that each person has the opportunity to own land and control their own destiny** – what does this mean?
  19. 19. The American DreamEarly settlers went to America to escape religious persecution. Others went in search of land and independence. Until the18th century, land was virtually the only way to gain wealthor power.Because America was a new land with no aristocracy, itgained the reputation as a country where anyone, nomatter what their background, could succeed. All youneeded was talent and hard work.This ideal became known as ‘The American Dream’.
  20. 20. What is meant by the term ‘The American Dream’? Race for Land Freedom Opportunity Prosperity Success
  21. 21. The Great Depression
  22. 22. The book is set during the depression of the 1930s• The 29th October 1929 was known as ‘Black Tuesday’ in America. The Wall Street Stock Market Crashed. Lots of money was lost and this led to a huge rise in unemployment across America• By 1931 banks and factories closed all over the country and the farming industry collapsed• This meant countless men had to travel the country to find work. They were hired and fired at will.• Many of the poorest members of US society suffered badly, and at one point it was estimated that 34 million men, women and children had no income at all.• Many people were evicted from their homes and ended up living in shanty towns. This crisis in the US economy forms the background to many of Steinbeck’s novels.
  23. 23. What happened on 29th October 1929?What effect did this haveon‘The American Dream’? •Banks closed •Industry collapsed •34 million unemployed •Poverty & Starvation •Migrant workers The American Dream was over! The Great Depression
  24. 24. The loss of the American Dream meant …• No land• No money• A fragmented society: migrant workers travelling from farm to farm looking for work
  25. 25. Great Depression & DustbowlDustbowl
  26. 26. CONTEXTUAL What we know about it How it links to the story of ‘Of Mice and Men’INFORMATION Grew up in the Salinas Valley. The story of ‘Of Mice and Men’ is set in a real place and some ofThe author, Spent some time working on a ranch Steinbecks’ own experiences inform the story.John Steinbeck Loved animals and had a pet dog. Was heavily interested in politics, particularly the rights of Because he was writing about a place and a topic he knew well, this allows for more detailed descriptions to add realism to the workers. novel. This could make it even more emotional. The focus of the novel is on the plight of two disadvantaged migrant workers, a topic that was dear to his heart . 1930’s – Black Tuesday: Wall Street Crash Follows the story of migrant workers and focusses on theirThe Great Banks closed – people lost their savings experiences especially the themes of social inequality, lonelinessDepression Industries closed – people lost their jobs 34 million unemployed = poverty, starvation, desperation and belonging. Steinbeck subverts the expectations that the reader would have A generation of migrant workers forced to travel to find work – about migrant workers by telling the story of ‘friends’ who mainly on farms as they were least affected by the Depression to travelled together. begin with (farming later suffered hugely). Families were split up = a very unhappy time. To the world, America was the land of opportunity. People None of the main characters achieve their dreams: Curley’s wifeThe American moved there to escape religious persecution and a new start. As dreamt of movie stardom but is accidently killed by Lennie;Dream America had no monarchy it was considered a ‘fairer playing field’. There was the hope that no matter what your background, George and Lennie never buy their ranch; Candy doesn’t get his happy retirement and Crooks realises the American Dream is out you could improve your situation in life. of his reach because of his skin colour. The American Dream was the belief that if you worked hard you The workers are treated poorly – hired and fired at will. Migrant could achieve freedom, success and independence with a workers lived in fear of losing a job. No stability or sense of particular emphasis on owning your own land. The American belonging. dream represents hope and was a part of the American But the American Dream does give the characters (especially subconscious. George and Lennie) hope, so it is tragically ironic at the end that there is no hope for them and the cyclical structure of the novel leads us to believe that all this will happen again to the next bunch of workers to pass through. All the main characters are socially disadvantaged. The American Dream is a recurring motif. For a while during the Great Depression, farming was an industry Though the novel is not set in the area known as The DustbowlThe Dustbowl that kept going. Millions of workers flooded into agricultural (Oklahoma) it is likely that the area attracted migrant workers areas. However, The Dustbowl threw a massive spanner in the forced to move away because of it. This would have put even works. The Dustbowl occurred as a result of the over farming of more pressure on George and Lennie not to lose their jobs precious land due mechanisation (machines got the job done because someone else would instantly fill their place. quickly but didn’t give the soil time to rejuvenate). The fertile topsoil was stripped of it’s nutrients and unable to grow very It is important to remember that The Dustbowl added to the much food. Also, because of drought, this top layer blew away as traumatic and dismal state of affairs for the whole of America and giant dust clouds. individuals. It was like yet another kick in the teeth.
  27. 27. CONTEXTUAL What we know about it How it links to the story of ‘Of MiceINFORMATION and Men’ The combined result of the Great Depression (no money, no jobs) and George and Lennie travel together – this sense of friendship isMigrant The Dustbowl (no land) was a fragmented society. Men were forced what makes what happens to them all the more upsetting. TheirWorkers to leave their hometowns and travel for thousands of miles with the hope of finding work. Work was sporadic and migrant workers had no relationship symbolises hope and humanity in the midst of the darkest times. employment rights. Steinbeck was heavily involved in politics and his novel may have sparked the beginning of a social reform – eventually A lot of the people who live on the ranch are given nicknames the Workers Rights Act was drawn up, giving fairer terms and pay to (Slim, Candy, Crooks, Curley’s Wife) – we don’t learn their real all workers. names and this lack of identity can link back to the idea of migrant workers having no real sense of belonging – it is almost Being a migrant worker was very lonely. It was unheard of for men to like they are stripped of their humanity. They live in the bleak, travel around together. Most travelled solo, carrying a few possession harsh, bare environment of the bunk house and do what they can in bindles on their backs. Jobs were few and they were given little to make it seem more homely, for example by pushing boxes warning of being dismissed. Most lived day to day. together to play cards around – there is the sense that they are all craving the feeling of community that they are denied because of Because of their way of life, migrant workers were unable to put down their circumstances. roots. It was a lonely existence with no sense of belonging and few opportunities to marry, buy a house and start a family. In 1930s America, black people did not have the same rights as they do •Crooks is the only black character on the ranch and he isRacial today. The were treated as second class citizens, often segregated away segregated from the others because of the colour of his skin. HeSegregation from the white people. The were denied basic rights like the vote, equal education, places on public transport, they even had separate has the lowest social status out of any of the characters simply because he is black (less than Curley’s wife and Lennie : a woman shops and swimming pools. and a ‘dum dum’.) Crooks is a symbol of the racial tension and The racial stereotype of black people at the time was that they were stereotypes of the time because: he is treated as a second class rude, dishonest (even criminal), thick and not to be trusted. Black citizen; he lives in fear of racist attack and suffers prejudice; he is people, especially in rural areas, lived in fear of lynch mobs – gangs of isolated from the other men on the ranch; his living conditions are white people who would hang them for the smallest crime or even much poorer than the others; he is crippled so cannot move/work sometimes simply for being accused of a crime. They were very violent, quickly or easily; he can only do menial jobs (manual labour); black prejudiced and tense times. people found it much harder to get work; he has no way of bettering his position in life through the American Dream. •What is ironic about this? Crooks room is full of personal belongings and is the most ‘homely’ of all the settings. This is ironic because Crooks is treated as an outcast. Crooks does not ‘belong’ with the others on the ranch; his room is separated from the other men. Yet strangely, Crooks is the one character who has made the ranch his ‘home’. And appears to be the only ‘permanent’ character. He also symbolises the futility of the American Dream. He is a proud character and a hard worker but he can never achieve it because of his colour. This makes him disadvantaged.
  28. 28. Curley’s Wife symbolises how poorly women were treated. TheSocial Social inequality was a massive problem for America. The country was fact that she isn’t given a name highlights how women wereInequality run in such a way that the rich stayed rich and the poor got poorer. This was made even worse when the Great Depression hit. considered to be more a possession of their husband than a citizen in their own right. Her use of slang reveals a poor education and her dreams can never be achieved. The poor, black, female, disabled and uneducated were not given the same opportunities as the rest of society and there were few means by Unlike the workers, Curley’s Wife is trapped on the farm. Which which they could break out of the cycle and improve themselves. This makes her story and untimely death more tragic. Though she is is perhaps why they clung to the hope of achieving the American not presented as an angel, the reader is encouraged to feel Dream so desperately. sympathy for her. California, the ‘Golden State’, so called because of the discovery of gold The story is set in a real place, so we can imagine that the placesSoledad, there in 1848. This is an area associated with wealth and happiness. Steinbeck describes actually exist. The descriptions of the SalinasCalifornia Because of this fact, it was also a state that attracted many migrant workers who were searching for the chance to make a living. Valley in the first and last chapters of the story are incredibly detailed and descriptive, probably because Steinbeck was so Steinbeck himself grew up here so would have witnessed this for familiar with the area. himself. It is ironic that a story focussing on the poverty and dismay of the Great Depression should take place in the State most renowned for being a place of wealth and opportunity.Don’t forget, in this exam you have 45 minutes to answer ONE question: either the extractbased question or the discursive question. Whichever you choose, you must comment indetail on how specific examples of language, structure and form create an effect on thereader. This means you must closely analyse quotes from the text for all the points youmake. You must also develop your interpretation of each point by discussing the contextof the novel – these 8 features we have just explored. Each paragraph should include adetailed reference to how your understanding of the context in which the text was writteninforms and illuminates your understanding of the text, it’s characters and themes.