Presentation on theme: "Explore the ways Steinbeck presents and develops a central character in Of Mice and Men."— Presentation transcript:
Explore the ways Steinbeck presents and develops a central character in Of Mice and Men.
Key considerations: Why does Steinbeck present George/Lennie in the way that he does? What does he want you to think about that character? Can you make an overall argument about what Steinbeck was trying to achieve (or “say”) through the book? Can you link this to the presentation and development of your chosen character? Can you select examples from the book to enable you to support your points/argument? Can you analyse the writer’s use of language, structure and form?
Chapter 1 How Lennie is introduced Chapter 1 How Lennie is introduced Chapter 2 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 2 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 5 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 5 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 4 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 4 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 3 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed Chapter 3 What happens and how Lennie’s character is shown/developed
I think that Steinbeck wants to... When Lennie... Here, the description of Lennie is carefully worded in order to... Also/in addition/similarly/at the same time... Slim says that... Here, the structure of the novel helps us to understand that... Point 1. Point 2 (linked) Supporting evidence/quotation (from anywhere in novel) Supporting evidence/quotation analysis And so on, towards the conclusion While some might argue that Lennie’s character does not change through the novel, I think that Steinbeck does a lot to develop… Point 3
I’m not sure why yet though...but I can confidently build an argument that he’s not corrupted or tainted by evil or sin... That’s why he’s compared to animals – animals cannot help what they do; they are in keeping with their environment... I want to argue that Lennie is presented as an innocent. The comments of Slim develop our view of Lennie – ‘he ain’t mean...’ Given the weight of Steinbeck’s approval of Slim in this novel (see his introductory description), Slim’s view of Lennie is powerfully persuasive – the voice of Steinbeck, almost dictating that we approve of Lennie as a ‘nice guy’. Perhaps that’s why Steinbeck uses verbs suggestive of labour in chapter 1 when he describes the bird ‘pounding down river’ etc. This is shown in stark contrast to other characters, especially Curley... Steinbeck makes Lennie a mentally handicapped character. Why? To heighten the pathos? (you feel more sorry for him) Or to emphasise his innocence? (Or both?) The narrative form Steinbeck chooses depends heavily on dialogue. How is this used to develop Lennie’s character?
How does the character of Lennie develop? Initially presented as a burden on George. “God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy.” However, it seems that George feels responsible for him, and there is a sense of companionship, belonging and purpose in George’s life “Guys that work on ranches... But not us.” Lennie’s character is implicitly developed by the parallel with Candy’s dog; the shooting of the dog because it is a burden to its master and cannot work (“suffers hisself”) –the shooting crucially approved by Slim, as is the shooting of Lennie. What does this imply? Is this why Steinbeck compares Lennie to a dog bringing a ball back to its master in Chapter 1? The narrative is circular in many ways. It begins in the brush by the river and ends in the brush by the river. Does this suggest anything about the development (or non- development) of Lennie’s character?
AVOID TELLING THE STORY!! Instead, select examples to support and develop your points and build up your argument or “case”.
Lennie – some starting points: Note all the comparisons between Lennie and animals through the novel; why does Steinbeck do this? How does Steinbeck present Lennie’s very weak mental faculties? Why did Steinbeck choose to present Lennie in this way? How does our view of Lennie’s weaknesses develop through the novel? Why? How do conversations between various sets of characters help to develop Lennie’s character – help us to understand Lennie, his relationship to George and his significance in the story? How does Steinbeck structure the story to develop our response to Lennie? (e.g. look at the encounters with other characters which invite contrasts and comparisons, such as Lennie & George, Lennie & Curley, Lennie & Crooks, etc.) Explore these links and contrasts, and what Steinbeck is suggesting to you through them. Steinbeck uses symbols and parallels to develop characters (i.e. Candy’s dog, hands, rabbits, farm animals, etc.) How does this affect our understanding of/feelings about Lennie and his significance in the novel? What do you think Steinbeck wanted to say about the world/human beings/society/Men in this book, and how does he use Lennie to communicate this?
George – some starting points: How does Steinbeck present George at the beginning of the book (i.e in contrast to Lennie, as Lennie’s “master” etc.) How does Steinbeck present and develop George’s character through various dialogues, comparisons and interactions with other characters? Focus on George and Slim, George and Carlson, George and Curley, George and Curley’s wife, George and Candy. For example, how does George’s conversation with Slim at the beginning of section 3 help us to understand George’s feelings about Lennie and his “journey” as a person? How does George’s conversation with/about Curley’s wife help to depict his attitudes to women in relation to those of other characters? (see also George’s comments about ‘cat houses’). Is George’s attitude meant to seem typical of male roles at the time or to stand out as different? How does Steinbeck structure the story to develop our response to George? For example, compare George’s incantatory reiterations of the dream of owning their own place (three times in the novel). Does this show any change or development? (i.e. of mood, feelings, motivation, irony?) Also look for other repeated elements, such as George’s comments about women brothels and what these suggest about him. The novel ends where it began (the narrative is circular in this regard); at the end, do we feel that George has developed or not? Why?
Steinbeck seems to want to... The novel demonstrates that... The first time we are introduced to George/Lennie, Steinbeck suggests to us that... I think that Steinbeck wants to show us.... Sentence starters