Exam Details EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT (1 hour) 20 th May Unit 1: Prose (different cultures) Section A 21% (INDIVIDUAL TEXTS IN CONTEXT) Different Cultures Prose: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
STRUCTURE OF EXAM Section A requires study of a prose text from a different culture. It will require candidates to answer two questions on the chosen prose text. The first question (part (a)) will require close reading of an extract. The second question will offer a choice of tasks (parts (b) and (c)) relating to the text as a whole. Candidates are not permitted to take copies of the set texts into the examination.
Marks – Extract about character 0 marks Nothing written, or nothing worthy of credit. 1 mark Brief responses, with simple comments about ___________. 2-4 marks Answers will tend towards reorganisation, with some discussion of ___________ for marks Discussions of ___________ will be more focused, with relevant detail from the extract to support judgements. For 6 -7 answers will be typified by sustained discussion of ___________ and how s/he is presented in this extract marks Answers will be assured, evaluative and analytical.
Marks - Settings 0 marks Nothing written, or nothing worthy or credit. 1-4 marks Patchy, simple narrative. Simple awareness of ranch life in 1930s USA. 5-9 marks Answers will be dependent on relatively simple narrative, with some discussion and awareness for Some awareness of ranch life in 1930s USA marks Answers will still be narrative driven, but use of knowledge of the text will be more focused and selective. Some understanding of context of ranch life in 1930s USA. For answers will be more sustained, with thorough discussion of the chosen setting and its importance marks Answers will be cogent and astute, with assured use of relevant detail. There will be a confident understanding of the importance of the chosen setting to the novel as a whole, and appreciation of context of ranch life in 1930s USA.
Marks – Character in Novel as a Whole 0 marks Nothing written, or nothing worthy of credit. 1-4 marks Answers will be based on simple, general narrative, and show basic awareness of 1930s ranch life in USA and its impact on __________. 5-9 marks Answers will tend to be general and based on partial narrative, with some discussion and awareness of __________ for There will be awareness of how __________ reflects 1930s ranch life in USA marks Answers will still be narrative dependent, but with apt focus on key areas of the text. For answers will be thorough and thoughtful, with an emerging appreciation of __________ importance within the context of 1930s USA marks Answers will be evaluative, assured, and, perhaps, for 18 – 20, original, with the issue of __________ importance addressed with some success. There will be appreciation of how __________represents society in 1930s USA.
Context - John Steinbeck biography Of Mice and Men in 1936 from California - his books deal with the lives and problems of working people. Many of his characters in his books are immigrants who went to California looking for work or a better life. Steinbeck worked on a ranch when he was 19, and used his experiences in Of Mice and Men. The living conditions for the farm workers were very poor. Often men travelled alone but sometimes whole families had to move and all live in their car. Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour. They tend to focus on trials and tribulations people experience and often make the reader root for the underdog. In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humour and keen social perception. Both The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men won Pulitzer Prizes. They both focused on the plights of poor migrant workers searching for hope and the American Dream.
Context - The GREAT depression Black Tuesday, 29 th October 1929, the stock market crashed, triggering the Great Depression, the worst economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world. Spread from USA to the rest of the world, from 1929 to 1940s. Banks failed and businesses closed, 15 million+ Americans (1/4 the workforce) unemployed. The depression led to drop market price farm crops, so farmers forced to produce more goods to earn same amount of money.
Context - The American Dream 1776 America broke free from British Empire - signed Declaration of Independence = All men are created equal … life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The American Dream has been a concept since the 17 th century. Immigrants dreamed of a better life in America. They dreamed of making their fortunes in the goldfields. For many the dream became a nightmare. The Wall Street Crash start Great Depression so many dreams no longer achievable. For many people dream survived. Thousands left mid-West went to California like the characters George and Lennie. They hung on to the dream that one day they would earn enough money to buy a little house. Agencies were set up to direct farm workers to farms and ranches where work existed = Murray and Readys was one of these agencies. Steinbeck worked on a ranch when he was 19, and used his experiences in Of Mice and Men. The living conditions for the farm workers were very poor. Often men travelled alone but sometimes whole families had to move and all live in their car. Despite everything Lennie and George still believed in this dream.
Context - The Dust Bowl The increase in farming activity across the Great Plains states caused the precious soil to erode. This erosion, coupled with a seven-year drought that began in 1931, turned once fertile grasslands (the Great Fruit Bowl) into a desert like region known as the Dust Bowl.
Context – History of California See sheet and answer these questions: 1. What happened in 1865 and how does it link to 1930? How would this be relevant to the novella? 2. How did the Dust Bowl come about? 3. What was Hooverville? 4. How does the poem by Burns relate to the novella? Youve got 3 minutes!
Race and Segregation
Segregation In the 1930s, although 50% of the population of Southern towns were black, they had no vote and could not marry whites. The policy of segregation meant that blacks had to have their own schools, their own churches, their own football teams, even their own cemeteries. Some whites formed vigilante groups to intimidate and even murder blacks; and right up until the 1950s it was common for black men to be accused of assaulting white women on the basis of little or no evidence.
Characters Importance to novel as a whole George Lennie Candy Slim Curley Curleys Wife Crooks Carlson The Boss When you revise, create a mind map with the following information: -Quotations -Description of character -Emotions -Traits -Images -Additional information -Background info. – context -Background info. – from novella
George A small, wiry, quick-witted man who travels with, and cares for, Lennie. Although he frequently speaks of how much better his life would be without his caretaking responsibilities, George is obviously devoted to Lennie. Georges behaviour is motivated by the desire to protect Lennie and, eventually, deliver them both to the farm of their dreams. Though George is the source of the often-told story of life on their future farm, it is Lennies childlike faith that enables George to actually believe his account of their future. He dislikes Curley: This Curley guy sounds like a son-of-a-bitch to me. George is very protective of Lennie, looks after him and keeps him in work, if he sees you work before you talk. George and Lennie came from Weed. The word Weed could suggest dirtiness or a rough area. George and Lennie support but not always understand each other. George is sometimes ashamed with the way he treats Lennie. George keeps reminding Lennie about the loneliness of migrant workers I want you to stay with me. He is intelligent. In the final chapter George is disappointed in Lennie, but doesnt blame him, I think I knowed wed never do her. The differences between George and Lennie are so extreme that although they are together, they both feel loneliness. His dream is to own his own barn and land with Lennie.
Lennie A large, lumbering, childlike migrant worker, often compared to animals: snorting into the water like a horse, Lennie dipped his big paw into the water. Lennie is also referred to as a dog: a terrier who doesnt bring a ball to its master. Due to his mild mental disability, Lennie completely depends upon George, his friend and traveling companion, for guidance and protection. He is forgetful because of his mental conditions. The two men share a vision of a farm that they will own together, a vision that Lennie believes in wholeheartedly. Gentle and kind, Lennie nevertheless does not understand his own strength. His love of petting soft things, such as small animals, dresses, and peoples hair, leads to disaster. He is very strong as he can lift more grain alone than most pairs can. Lennie sees George as a role model: Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. George and Lennie can support but not always understand each other. Lennie is unaware of his own strength. Lennies actions get George in trouble, you keep me in hot water all the time. Lennie doesnt know how to behave towards women. Lennie lacks confidence. Lennies dream is to look after rabbits and work with George. Lennie is clumsy: the follower nearly ran over him. Lennie shows his loneliness by petting small animals for company. He also feels as if he isnt good enough for George, you want I should go away and leave you?
Candy - the swamper. He is old and weak, stick-like wrist, but no hand. Candy defends people that have left the ranch and likes to look after fellow workers so they dont leave too early. Candy has been at the ranch for many years as he explains in great detail people who used to be at the ranch. Candy has strong attitudes towards Crooks and racism: stable bucks a nigger. Candy informs George and Lennie that workers get beaten up by the boss if they dont do their job properly. Candys dog is described as old and weak, drag-footed sheep dog. Steinbecks description of Candys dog is very similar to the description of Candy, suggesting theyre similar (both old and weak). Candy describes the boss in a forceful tone saying he is strict and stern gets pretty mad sometimes. In the final chapter Candy is worried about the future, what we gonna do now, George? Candy is very independent but enjoys company. He doesnt have a specific dream until he gets in with George and Lennies dream.
Slim A highly skilled mule driver and the acknowledged prince of the ranch, Slim is the only character who seems to be at peace with himself. The other characters often look to Slim for advice. For instance, only after Slim agrees that Candy should put his decrepit dog out of its misery does the old man agree to let Carlson shoot it. A quiet, insightful man, Slim alone understands the nature of the bond between George and Lennie, and comforts George at the books tragic ending. Slim recognises George and Lennie as being the new ranchmen. Slim is almost the exact opposite character of Curley. Slim is a very serious character whereas Carlson is the opposite and likes to joke about things and is described as powerful.
Curley Curley likes people to talk only when they have been addressed to: let the big guy talk. Curley is thin, young; brown eyed and skinned, wears boots like the boss and has a glove on one hand. His actions are as a boxers, hands closed into fists. George understands Curley as being a bully and wanting to pick on Lennie, he better watch out for Lennie. Candy agrees with George and Lennie about Curley. Curley is very judgemental. George warns Lennie to be careful around Curley. In the final chapter Curley is extremely angry with Lennie and wishes to kill him, that big son-of-a-bitch done it
Curleys Wife The only female character in the story. Curleys wife isnt given a name in the novel to represent unimportance and to emphasize it when she enters the scene. She is one of the weaker characters, but still threatens and insults other weak characters. She threatens to hang Crooks: I could get you strung up on a tree. She has the eye of other workers. She feels as if she can never talk to people on the ranch, I never get to talk to nobody, I get awful lonely. Her dream was to be a famous actress, coulda been in the movies. The men on the farm refer to her as a tramp, a tart, and a looloo. Dressed in fancy, feathered red shoes, she represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male- dominated world.
Steinbeck depicts Curleys wife not as a villain, but rather as a victim. Like the ranch-hands, she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life. Steinbeck describes Curleys wife in the same way that Candy perceives her: full rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes. Curleys wife is described as promiscuous and angry, her fingernails were red (as the colour red suggests). Lennie responds to Curleys wife in a dazed way, Lennies eyes moved down over her body, but George discourages Lennie. Curleys wife is a rattrap, meaning she deliberately distracts men and gets them into trouble. Lennies reactions to Curleys wife could end them up getting kicked out of the ranch, like their previous job in Weed.
Crooks Crooks, the black stable-hand, gets his name from his crooked back. Proud, bitter, and caustically funny, he is isolated from the other men because of the colour of his skin. Despite himself, Crooks becomes fond of Lennie, and though he derisively claims to have seen countless men following empty dreams of buying their own land, he asks Lennie if he can go with them and hoe in the garden.
Crooks How would he feel in his situation? His eyes lay deep in his head and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity He had thin, pain-tightened lips which were lighter than his face He poured a few drops of the liniment into his pink- palmed hand and reached up under his shirt to rub again. Dont come in a place where youre not wanted This is just a nigger talkin…….it dont mean nothing, see? Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody gets land.
Crooks, the negro stable buck, has his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. Crooks possessed several pairs of shoes, a pair of rubber boots, a big alarm clock and a single barrelled shotgun. And he had books too; a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for He kept his distance and demanded that other people kept theirs. Spose you didnt have nobody. Spose you couldnt go into the bunk house and play rummy cause you was black. Howd you like that? Spose you had to sit out here an read books. Sure you could play horseshoes til it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books aint no good. A guy needs somebody- to be near him. He whined. I remember when I was a little kid on my old mans chicken ranch. Had two brothers. They was always near me, always there. Used to sleep right in the same room, right in the same bed- all three. He had a strawberry patch. Had an alfafa patch. Used to turn chickens out in the alfafa on a sunny morning. My brothersd set on a fence rail an watch em- white chickens they was.
Carlson A ranch-hand, Carlson complains bitterly about Candys old, smelly dog so God damn old.. When Candy finally agrees, Carlson promises to execute the task without causing the animal any suffering. Later, George uses Carlsons gun to shoot Lennie, in the same way. Carlson, in the final chapter, also wants to kill Lennie but shows no feelings towards Curleys wife, Ill get my luger.
The Boss The stocky, well-dressed man in charge of the ranch, and Curleys father. He is never named and appears only once, but seems to be a fair-minded man. Candy happily reports that the boss once delivered a gallon of whiskey to the ranch-hands on Christmas Day.
Aunt Clara Lennies aunt, who cared for him until her death, does not actually appear in the work except at the end, as a vision chastising Lennie for causing trouble for George. By all accounts, she was a kind, patient woman who took good care of Lennie and gave him plenty of mice to pet.
ISOLATION Soledad = Loneliness in Spanish SETTINGS play big part in portraying isolation – ranch Soledad = Loneliness in Spanish Characters are discriminated against for different reasons. Although most of them suffer discrimination, the characters dont have much in common and remain quite isolated throughout the book (dream brings them together): Crooks – Because he is black Curleys wife – Because she is a woman and seen as trouble and Curleys possession. Candy – Because of his disability. Candys dog – old and smells. Crooks is an important character when exploring isolation – he uses his own room as a retreat and rarely allows other people to enter his room – very protective over his small space. This shows that even though he doesnt own much, he is a very proud character; This is also why he retreats back into his shell when challenged and mocked byCurleys wife. George ends up alone at the end – links to circular plot.
Loneliness & Isolation Everyone on the ranch is lonely 1) The men on the ranch are like orphans. George says: They got no family. 2) The bunk house guys blow their money every Saturday night on prostitutes and booze at Susys place. They go for some companionship but it doesnt stop them being lonely. 3) Its unusual for the ranchers to make friends. Most of the ranchers comment on how strange it is that George and Lennie travel together – Funny how you an him string along together. 4) Crooks, the stable buck, lives all alone – hes segregated from the others because hes black. 5) How are the others lonely?
No one can think of an answer 1) Lennie and George think that having their own place would solve everything. But George doesnt ever really seem to think this will happen. 2) Lennie and George look after each other, but George still seems lonely. He tells Slim, I aint got not people. 3) Animals seem to provide a temporary solution to the problem of loneliness but Lennie kills all the animals he gets. Candy has his dog…. until Carlson shoots it. Looking for companionship can be dangerous 1) When anyone tries to grab hold of someone else it can end in disaster. For example, Crooks and Candys attempt to grab hold of George and Lennies dream ends in bitter disappointment for them. Or Lennies holding his animals, holding the girls skirt in Weed, and holding in to Curleys wife. 2) Curleys wife isnt happy living in her father-in-laws house. She tires to get a bit of companionship by flirting with the ranchers and talking to them. But this ends in disaster for her.
Friendship Lennie and George stand out in the novel because, even though all the other characters are isolated and lonely, Lennie and George have each other. Usually ranchers have no family, no friends, and, therefore, no future. George and Lennies friendship strikes the other ranchers as odd: their dependence on each other makes the Boss and Curley suspicious and Slim observes how unusual their friendship is. Although most of the men in the novel are entirely alone, they all crave true companionship. As C ROOKS, perhaps the novels most solitary character because of his black skin, puts it, A guy needs somebodyto be near him. The men in Of Mice and Men desire to come together in a way that would allow them to be like brothers to one another - to live with one anothers best interests in mind, protect each other, to know that there is someone in the world dedicated to protecting them. Given the harsh, lonely conditions under which these men live, it should come as no surprise that they idealize friendships between men in such a way. The world is too harsh and predatory a place to sustain such relationships. Lennie and George, who come closest to achieving this ideal of brotherhood, are forced to separate tragically. With this, a rare friendship vanishes, but the rest of the worldrepresented by Curley and Carlson, who watch George stumble away with grief from his friends dead bodyfails to acknowledge or appreciate it.
Relationships GEORGE AND LENNIE: Strength (physical – Lennie alongside Mental – George) Friends (George takes responsibility for Lennie) Father and Son (George – protective / Lennie – childlike) Pet and Master (Animal imagery) MASTER AND PET: Lennie and Mice Lennie and Puppy Candy and Dog George and Lennie CROOKS AND LENNIE / CURLEYS WIFE AND LENNIE: Both characters open up to Lennie – reveals more to the reader (Lennie is almost used as a journal / diary). CURLEY AND HIS WIFE: Not a loving relationship Wife treated as a possession – doesnt even have a name in the book. Even at the end, Curley wants revenge for Lennie crushing his hand. This will shock the reader as he should want justice for his dead wife. Wifes unhappiness shown throughout the novel – flirting with other men, lost dreams
Hopes & Dreams Repetition of farm dream makes it seem more real as novel progresses (until final events) CHAPTER 1 – Used as sign of hope. CHAPTER 6 – Used differently – used to comfort Lennie before George kills him. The last mention of the dream is very poignant as both the reader and George know that the dream will never be achieved. CIRCULAR PLOT – used to emphasise that life will never change for these characters. The dream is used by Steinbeck to show a different side to Candy and Crooks. Dream is shattered in by Curleys wife in two ways: Mocking Crooks bindlebums Getting killed by Lennie. Curleys wife had her own dreams of being in films. We discover characters dreams through their conversations with Lennie – he is almost used like a journal by the other characters because they know that he doesnt always understand what they are saying.
Dreams People on the ranch are going nowhere 1) George says that most men who work on ranches work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake. 2) George believes that men like this aint got nothing to look ahead to. 3) Sometimes George dreams of this life. He talks of having a girl, having an easy life drinking whisky, shooting pool and panning for golf. 4) At the end of the novel though, when it seems that his life might actually be like this, it doesnt seem to make him happy at all – Ill take my fifty buck and Ill stay all night in some lousy cat house.
George and Lennie dream of a better life 1) George and Lennie are different – they dont want to work on ranches every day until they die. 2) They dream of owning their own farm and this dream keeps them (especially Lennie) going during their tough times. 3) But, even when Candy offers to provide the money to help buy the dream farm we never see any evidence that the farm George talks about actually exists. 4) Were never really sure whether George believes in the dream. Sometimes it seems like he does: I got to thinking maybe we would. Other times it seems like he doesnt: I think I knowed wed never do her. 5) Georges changing attitude to the dream is also shown by his language. In Chaper One he speaks rhythmically but in Chapter Six his words are spoken monotonously – George has finally accepted that dreams dont come true. 6) Dreams often get physically crushed in the novel. Lennie crushes Curleys hand – ending his boxing career. Curleys wife is crushed by Lennie – destroying he dreams and the dream of George, Lennie and Candy.
Settings Contrasts between Chapter 1 and 6 – circular plot – isolation Weed – foreshadowing Barn – location for a lot of negative events Puppy dies Curleys wife dies Curleys hand crushed Ranch = isolated – Soledad = solitude Crooks room – books – shows intelligence / proud Detailed descriptions of settings to reflect events and mood.
Foreshadowing (Hints at what might happen later in the plot): Title of novel The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry… Woman in weed Georges constant warnings to Lennie to keep away from Curleys wife Candys dog Repetition of run to the brush Dead animals Structure – uplifting events are quickly followed by something bad (this occurs throughout the novel) Lennies strength – dead animals – wont let go of Curleys hand
Exam Questions Extract Questions Character Questions Context Themes
Extract Questions Read question and underline specific words E.g. How does Steinbeck use details to present Lennie? Read the extract from the novel – highlight: Appearance Attitude Language Sentence Length Think about context
What do I do? Show an understanding / an awareness of the entire text. The easiest way to do this is to comment on where the extract appears in the novella e.g. This extract is taken from the opening / ending / section 3 after … Use the terminology from the question e.g. Lennie is presented as … Steinbeck presents him as … Focus on the extract and what you learn about a character/theme/setting or relationship Select key parts of the text to write about. This includes literary devices, sentence length, interesting vocabulary e.g. Steinbeck uses a simile into the water like a horse
Example? This passage is taken from the beginning of Of Mice and Men and it is the first description we see of Lennie and George. He is first described as the follower. This verb suggests Lennie idolises George and links to the theme of friendship. Also he fact that he nearly ran over him shows that hes oblivious and clumsy. Lennie is presented in a way that shows he is the opposite to George. He is huge in appearance, whereas George is a small man. They probably look like rather strange companions! Lennie is positive about finding the water whereas George is cynical Looks kinda scummy. Lennie is happy. Lennie has animal like qualities: Steinbeck uses a simile into the water like a horse and dabbled his big paw to show this. These details could reflect Lennies sympathy with animals later on in the novel. George gives Lennie advice hopelessly, indicating Lennie often forgets what George tells him, which could be an example of foreshadowing. Lennie is a burden to George Lennie, for God sakes dont drink so much. I sometimes feel that George gives Lennie a hard time, although he is only looking out for him, again, reflecting Steinbecks theme of friendship. Lennie uses simple, child-like sentences You take a good big drink, and takes pleasure in simple things like the rippling of the water. Overall, this passage sums up Lennie well because the details show his enthusiasm for simple things and Steinbeck uses details to show how this huge man can be linked to animals.
How do people treat Crooks in the novel as a whole and what does his character tell you about society in the 1930s? Understanding of WHOLE text Talk about CONTEXT