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‘Of Mice and Men’ - Revision

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1 ‘Of Mice and Men’ - Revision

2 Section 1 (1st half to Christ you’re a crazy bastard”)
How does Steinbeck create a contrast between the characters in the first paragraph? Find words that are ‘opposites.’ They drink the water differently. What do we learn about their characters? What do G’s first words to L tell us about their relationship? There’s 3 place L is compared to an animal – what does this tell us about his physical ability? What other examples of imagery (metaphors & similes) can you find – what do they suggest about the men AND their environment?

3 Section 1 (2nd half)- Dream
Has the ‘dream’ conversation happened before – find a quote to show and explain it’s significance. George’s mood changes. HOW does Steinbeck present this (look at adverbs!)? What do Lennie’s repeated interruptions tell us about his character? Going back to language – Can you find 2 examples of colloquial itinerant speech from the 1930s? SOME critics have argued that Seteinbeck portrays the relationship between G and L in an overly-sentimental way. Try to find one example of this viewpoint and explain YOUR view.

4 Section 2 (1st half) - Bunkhouse
The bunkhouse seems both homely AND bare. List 2 good AND bad features from the description. Steinbeck lists many personal items – What is the effect of this? Structure again – Steinbeck’s skill as a writer is demonstrated in this section. Look at his syntax (sentence construction) for length, sentence opening and punctuation. Make a note for exam use!! Do you notice anything in his use of adverbs here?

5 Section 2 B - Candy Candy is one of the ‘rejects’ later in the novel. Find 3 quotes that show him as physically weak/old. Try and find 2 ways that Steinbeck implies Candy has been at the ranch longer than others. Candy refers to Crooks as ‘stable buck’ and a ‘nice fella’ but what do later comments show about American society? How/Why does Steinbeck give a more general impression of itinerant workers through the character of Candy?

6 Section 2 C - Curley Lennie says little during Curley’s introduction BUT Steinbeck references to his behaviour. Find any references that might foreshadow future events. Curley is described in physical terms. Can you spot any techniques or word types that Steinbeck uses to convey his character? Comment on how Candy behaves. Why do you think he’s “reassured” that he’s “drawn a derogatory statement” from George when mentioning the “glove full of vaseline”?

7 Section 2 D – Curley’s Wife
Look at the description of Curley’s Wife – pick 3 aspects of the description and explain what impression Steinbeck is trying to create – what might be there apart from the ‘tartiness’? George says of her “Curley’s got his work ahead of him” what does he mean by this and calling her a “rat-trap”? Try and explain his sudden anger at Lennie. Why do you think she remains un-named?

8 Section 2 E - Slim Slim is described as the “prince of the ranch”. How does he behave towards George and Lennie, and how does George in particular respond to this treatment? You could say Slim is the antithesis (opposite) of Curley. Find 2 contrasting sets of quotes. Some have said Slim is the least believable character. Do you agree? Why would Steinbeck bother include an inspirational figure?

9 Section 3 A - Weed Read George’s description of what happened with the girl in the red dress. What might be significant about that moment? What is the link between the “red” dress and someone else in the previous chapter? Slim makes very little comment as George recounts the story. Look at the way he listens. How does this confirm his character?

10 Section 3 B – Carlson shoots Candy’s dog
Find 5 WAYS that Steinbeck suspends the tension of the moment: quote and this shows… Stalling/pausing the narrative Use of pauses and silence Description of sights and sounds Symbolism – e.g. darkness Use of verbs and adverbs

11 Section 3 C – The dream farm: a reality?!
Look at Candy’s behaviour – how does he slowly become more involved? Read carefully the images of the dream farm that George evokes. How does he make it so appealing? How does this description tie in with the theme of Nature? Lennie’s responses are worth noting: i.e. “live off the fatta land” and “you let ‘em try to get the rabbits. I’ll break their goddam necks.”

12 Section 3 D – Curley confronts Lennie
A violent episode: Steinbeck describes movement and strong emotions. Find 3 examples of violence. Is animal imagery again used around Lennie? Do you think George is ambiguous and sending mixed messages to Lennie i.e. “Get him Lennie” followed by “Leggo his hand Lennie” ?

13 Section 4 A - Crooks “…a long bunk filled with straw ”
The harness room reflects the character of Crooks. Find 3 quotes and explain what they say about him In physical and in status terms, who do you thinks Crooks has a lot in common with? Crooks cruelly taunts Lennie. Why? What’s interesting about how Lennie resonds? Through Crooks’ character, Steinbeck says what about the nature of men’s dreams? “…a long bunk filled with straw ” Due to being black, he has a bed like an animal.

14 Section 4 B – The dream farm
Candy is described as embarrassed when entering Crook’s room. Crooks also says to Curley’s wife “You got no right comin’ on to a coloured man’s room”. What do we learn about the rights of black men at the time? What is Curley’s wife threatening to Crooks, and why does he react the way he does? There are some descriptions which suggest ‘disturbance’. These create a certain mood for the final events. What are these ‘disturbance’ descriptions?

15 Section 5 A – The Barn beginning to Curley’s wife ent.
Read the first 4 paragraphs. List the different signs of life Steinbeck depicts and his words to do so. Use this table to describe the opening atmosphere in 1 sentence! What two emotional states does Lennie go through – how does Steinbeck’s language reflect this? Signs of Life Words to Describe them Horses Resting, nibbled, rattled ?

16 Death of Curley’s wife- wife entrance to “voices became louder”
List 5 things that foreshadow the death of Curley’s wife from early chapters….. What do we find out about Curley’s wife in this extract? What do you reckon Steinbeck wants us to feel about her? Look at the language used during the killing- How would you describe it? THEN LEAVE A SMALL GAP TO COMPARE WITH LANG THAT FOLLOWS NEXT. Description of Lennie killing Curley’s wife The atmosphere after she’s been killed ….

17 Curley’s wife: the aftermath “time awakened”…end of chp
When G first sees Curley’s wife’s body he says “I should have knew…I guess ..I did.” What does he mean by this – were there any clues earlier in the novel? After reading the conversation “G watched Candy’s lips” why do you think they try to help L escape? Can you explain Candy’s reaction to Curley’s wife once George has left………..? Do you feel the same? Describe the different reactions of the characters as they enter the barn, especially Curley’s reaction. Character Reaction This reveals… Slim Curley Carlson

18 Lennie hides in the Brush Start of chp. To
Lennie hides in the Brush Start of chp.. To..”G came quietly out of bush” What is the significance of book closing where it started? Any key images here….? The first 6 paragraphs contain many key images of nature: Copy and fill the table….. What do Lennie’s ‘conversations’ with Aunt Clara and the rabbit reveal about his state of mind? The image Significance “A watersnake glided smoothly…the beak swallowed the little snake…” Nature is presented as cruel at times- sometimes it is unavoidable that there are victims (Candy’s dog, drowned pups etc.)

19 The ending – “George came quietly” end
“Ain’t you gonna give me hell?” Why does L want G to do this? Look at hoe Steinbeck G when he agrees. “The wind waves flowed up the green pool” Comment on Steinbeck’s choice of image, as men get nearer to G and L. Why does G talk about the farm as he shoots. Does this conclude the theme of dreams? Is Slim’s reaction consistent with his character (Candy’s dog example..) The last lines are famous – Why might Steinbeck choose to end this way?

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