Language in The Crucible

To start, lets think about some useful literary terms that you can use when writing about The Crucible:

Allegory

A story that has two different meanings, sometimes with a moral attachment.

In The Crucible? There is a parallel between the witch trials of Salem and the anti-communist sentiment of 1950s USA.

Atmosphere

Mood or feelings created by language, action or setting.

In The Crucible? Suspicion and claustrophobia in the tightly controlled, religious community.

Colloquial

Everyday speech often particular to a region.

In The Crucible? The letter ‘G’ is often dropped from the end of words “whippin'”, “searchin'”.

Double Negatives

Non-standard form, using two negatives, when only one is needed. Represents an older English.

In The Crucible? “I don’t compact with no devil”

Inversion

Straying from normal word order in a sentence

In The Crucible? “I know not what I have said”

Metaphor

Likening on thing to another

In The Crucible? “I have made a bell of my honour! I have rung the doom of my good name!”

Religious Language

References to God, Christianity and The Bible

In The Crucible? “Praise God!” “Do you know your Commandments?” “the crowd will part like the sea for Israel”

Simile

Likening one thing to another using ‘like’ or ‘as’

In The Crucible? “Put out like the cat”

Extract Analysis

Use the extract below, from Act 3, to find examples of some of these literary terms;

PROCTOR: Mary, tell the Governor what they – [He has hardly got a word out, when, seeing him coming for her, she rushes out of his reach, screaming in horror.]

MARY WARREN: Don’t touch me – don’t touch me! [At which the girls halt at the door.]

PROCTOR: [Astonished]: Mary!

MARY WARREN [Pointing at PROCTOR]: You’re the Devil’s man! [He is stopped in his track.]

PARRIS: Praise God!

GIRLS: Praise God!

PROCTOR: [Numbed]: Mary, how – ?

MARY WARREN: I’ll not hang with you! I love God, I love God.

DANFORTH: [To MARY]: He bid you do the Devil’s work?

MARY WARREN: [Hysterically, indicating PROCTOR]: He come at me by night and every day to sign, to sign, to –

DANFORTH: Sign what?

PARRIS: The Devil’s book? He come with a book?

MARY WARREN: [Hysterically, pointing at PROCTOR, fearful of him]: My name, he want my name. ‘I’ll murder you’, he says, ‘if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court’, he says!

[DANFORTH’S head jerks toward PROCTOR, shock and horror in his face.]

PROCTOR: [turning, appealing to HALE]: Mr Hale!

MARY WARREN [her sobs beginning]: He wake me every night, his eyes were like coals and his fingers claw my nick, and I sign, I sign….

HALE: Excellency, this child’s gone wild!

PROCTOR [as DANFORTH’S wide yes pour on him]: Mary, Mary!

MARY WARREN [screaming at him]: No I love God; I go your way no more. I love God. [Sobbing, she rushes to ABIGAIL]. Abby, Abby, I’ll never hurt you more!

[They all watch, as ABIGAIL, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing MARY to her, and then looks up to DANFORTH.]

DANFORTH [to PROCTOR]: What are you? [PROCTOR is beyond speech in his anger.] You are combined with anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power; you will not deny it! What say you, Mister?

HALE: Excellency –

DANFORTH: I will have nothing from you, Mr Hale! [To PROCTOR] Will you confess yourself befouled with Hell, or do you keep that black allegiance yet? What say you?

PROCTOR: [his mind wild, breathless]: I say – I say – God is dead!

PARRIS: Hear it, hear it!

PROCTOR: [laughs insanely, then]: A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men our of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you known in all your black hearts that this be fraud – God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!

DANFORTH: Marshall! Take him and Corey with him to the jail!

HALE [starting across to the door]: I denounce these proceedings!

PROCTOR: You are pulling Heaven down and raising up a whore!

HALE: I denounce these proceedings, I quit this court! [He slams the door to the outside behind him.]

DANFORTH: [calling to him in a fury]: Mr Hale! Mr Hale!

TASK: 

Using three different examples of Miller’s language techniques, write a mini essay (with three developed PEE paragraphs) to explain the effect of language choices; how they develop character, ideas and themes.

EXTENSION – STAGE DIRECTIONS:

Comment on Miller’s use of stage directions in this extract, highlighting what they reveal about the characters personality and feelings, the author’s intentions and the audience response to them.

Media Crime Drama

For our external exam in Media Studies this year, we are studying Television Crime Drama. One of the assessment objectives is to have a wide understanding of a range of Crime Drama TV shows, so we were asked to research and prepare a presentation on a specific show. Here is a selection of what we did using Prezi.

Of Mice and Men Structure

With just a few weeks to go until the exam, we are knuckling down and focusing on how to tackle exam questions. Today, we are focusing on structure in Of Mice and Men with this question:

How does Steinbeck’s structuring of the novel and its events contribute to its tragic nature?

Of course, we had to highlight the key words which we decided were: Structuring, events, tragic.

Our first thought was that the novel is very much a traditional tragedy as it ends in death, much like Frankenstein and Macbeth which we have also studied.

We felt as though FORESHADOWING is used throughout to allude to the tragedy in the novel. Foreshadowing can be seen in:

  • Descriptions of place: The bare, whitewashed walls of the bunkhouse.
  • Descriptions of people: Curley’s Wife’s red shoes, Curley’s tightly wound curly hair.
  • Descriptions of light and dark: The building darkness of the novel, and sunset Salinas Valley at the end.

Steinbeck seems to have tragic clues embedded in his work, to display to his readers the seemingly inevitable fate of his characters. We thought of the major events that were either directly tragic, or alluded to tragedy:

 

An overview of the whole structure reveals highs and lows in tragedy. We felt that Steinbeck did this deliberately to engage his readers and keep the plot moving at a fast rate. From this point, we now have to look at some specific EVENTS as highlighted in the question. We picked the following moments:

  • When Candy’s Pup is killed – you cannot ignore the first majorly tragic moment with his question, the correlations between Candy’s Dog and Lennie’s deaths are too obvious to overlook.
  • Curley and Lennie fight – after an optimistic moment in the novel (when Candy seems to make the dream possible), we have an ominous sign of things to come. Lennie’s unbridled anger is seen for the first time and we know that Curley will have to get revenge.
  • Curley’s Wife’s death – a tragic moment not only because she dies, but the fact that we only see her portrayed in a positive light after death.
  • Lennie’s death – a final blow to the dream of making something of themselves. It is definitely poignant that the novel ends abruptly after this moment, revealing that there is nothing significant or positive enough to add to the story of these men’s lives.

We will undertake a close analysis of these sections next lesson.

Language in Of Mice And Men

We spent today’s lesson looking at how to construct PEE paragraphs in a response to the Of Mice and Men literature exam. It is an area that most of the class need to work on and develop so we used the Prezi above as a template for the whole lesson.

We started by reminding ourselves of how to PEE, Miss Ryan wanted us to focus on the type of evidence that we select to use in our essays. We know that it’s really important to choose concise, relevant quotations and to embed them naturally as part of our answer.

We read 2 responses to a question about Lennie, and explored what makes an effective PEE paragraph.

  • When selecting a quote, don’t choose a really long one – make sure that it is relevant and concise.
  • When making a point, be specific, rather than generic. For example, student A wrote ‘Steinbeck compares Lennie to an animal’ whereas student B wrote ‘Steinbeck compares Lennie’s appearance and physical movement to an animal’. Student B focuses on the actual nature of the comparison, which is better.
  • Although you aren’t being heavily graded on the quality of your writing, you should adopt a lively and informative tone with a good range of vocabulary.
  • You should link the details from that quote to other areas of aspects of the novel.
  • You should put in as much detail as you possibly can – 6-10 sentences per PEE paragraph.

After we had done this, we looked at the success criteria for a good paragraph in a literature essay:

AfL Criteria:

  • The point is concise
  • Evidence is concisely selected (only what is needed)
  • Evidence embedded
  • Explanation makes up the majority of the paragraph
  • Explanation relates directly to the quote
  • Explanation discusses the effect of specific words and phrases
  • Quote linked to other parts of the novel to which it is similar or with which it contrasts

We then completed the analysis of a quotation and constructed a PEE paragraph together as a class. We used this quotation:

Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to his master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand

We felt that Lennie’s character could be interpreted in a number of ways in this scene:

  • Loyal
  • Disobedient
  • Tame
  • Immature
  • Playful
  • Rebellious

Either one of these interpretations could be valid, and there is certainly no ‘right answer’, as long as you use relevant quotations to support your ideas.  The best answers will be analytical, showing the ability to critique Steinbeck’s ideas and show an understanding of a variety of interpretations.

We were then given a quotation that we had to write our own PEE paragraph for:

They sat by the fire and filled their mouths with beans and chewed mightily. A few beans slipped out of the side of Lennie’s mouth. George gestured with his spoon.

We were given 10 minutes to write a detailed paragraph using the success criteria. When the time was up, we had to swap with our partners, read each others’ work and offer feeback of ‘What went well…’ and ‘Even better if…’

We were given homework (sigh!), but luckily it is just a 30 minute job:

Write a PEE paragraph for the last quotation on the blog (‘They sat by the fire and filled their mouths with beans…’) Choose another quote, from another section of the book where a different side to Lennie’s character is shown, and write a PEE paragraph for that.

Time yourself, giving 10 minutes to write each PEE paragraph

 

Of Mice and Men revision

We started off the lesson with an activity where we had to swap the revision aids with each other. We were given 5 minutes with each poster to read it and add any additional information to it (using post it notes). We did this four times so as we continued to pass the posters around, it became increasingly difficult for us to add any extra information.

Again, Miss Ryan and Miss Belcher were very pleased with our concentration levels and the way we worked!

After we had all looked at 4 new posters each, we were given 5 minutes to consolidate all the new information by making a page of revision notes in our books. We were encouraged to use a range of presentational features to organise our ideas: Bullet points, diagrams, spidergrams, illustrations, columns, subheadings…

Interestingly, over half the class found that they had learnt something new or had begun to see things from a different perspective following this activity. Some of the new points that we discovered are:

“I’d never thought of Slim as mysterious before – ‘he heard things people didn’t say'” – Josh

“I’d never thought of Slim as controlling before – ‘I think you got your hand caught in a machine'” – Gregg

“Looking at other points of view helped me to interpret the friendships in Of Mice and Men differently” – Shivani

“I saw another side to the ideas and other people’s opinions” – Vishal

“I’d never really noticed that Curley and his wife are only together at her death” – Dixita

“I was interested in the parallels between the death of Candy’s dog at the hands of strangers and Lennie’s death at the hands of his best friend” – Asma

“I gained greater insight into the character of Crooks, thinking about his security in his job juxtaposed with the insecurity of his race and treatment from Curley’s Wife” – Bhavu

“When looking at the bunkhouse I noticed the similarities between the unfinished ‘whitewashed walls’ and their own unfinished dreams” – Shruti

“Candy’s social skills are poor as a result of the prejudice he has always had to face” – Ashneil

“The darkness of the bunkhouse is a metaphor to foreshadow the darkness to come” – Chandni

“It’s ironic that everyone feels lonely, despite the fact that they are living in the bunkhouse together. It seems as though they don’t realise what they already have” – Nishita

“Chapter 4 is the only chapter when Curley’s wife is really mean, however we as readers are prejudiced about her throughout the novel, even after she dies” – Savena

We finished the lesson by answering some questions based on the main themes in the novel. In groups of four we were given four questions to answer (one each). We then had to feed back our answers within our groups first, then as a whole class. Here are the questions:

1. How does Steinbeck show that looking for companionship can be dangerous?

2. Why does Crooks pretend that he doesn’t want company?

3. Why is it important for the characters in the book to have dreams?

4. Do you think Lennie’s death is inevitable? Explain your answer.

Of Mice and Men

The best laid plans of mice and men have gone really well in G9 this week! With just five weeks to go before the literature exam, we have begun revising Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’. As a class, we haven’t studied for a year, so we started off with a quiz:

Students did brilliantly, with most getting all of the correct answers, even quoting chapter numbers and providing additional information.

After the quiz, Miss Ryan divided the class into groups for us to produce revision materials, here are the categories:

Settings: Salinas Valley (Chapter 1 and 6), The Bunkhouse, Crooks’ Room.

Themes: Prejudice, Loneliness, Friendship, Death.

Context: American Dream, Migrant Workers, The Great Depression.

Characters: George and Lennie, Curley, Curley’s Wife, Candy, Slim, Crooks.

Timeline: Chapters 1 to 6.

We worked independently to produce a revision aid on a piece of A4 plain paper. Our only guidance was to think about the assessment objectives to inform what information we put on. We were encouraged to explore and analyse, rather than simply recall and regurgitate information.

Here is what we came up with:

Characters:

Themes:

Context:

Settings:

We also have an ‘Of Mice and Men’ display in the room, with handy revision aids made by the year ten group who have just completed a controlled assessment on ‘Of Mice and Men’.

Click on the images to enlarge