English Literature: Paper One Overview

Some last minute information about the English Literature exam tomorrow:

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Some information about the assessment objectives:

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Suggested activities to revise:

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Of Mice and Men Essay: Team Speedforce

Essay written by Yuvraj, Lipesan, Nirav, Rikesh, Pritesh and Rethush.

In the novel Of Mice and Men, author John Steinbeck uses many methods to present Curley’s wife and the attitudes other men at the ranch have towards her.

First of all, Steinbeck’s use of imagery in Of Mice and Men foreshadows the end of the novella. This can be seen when Curley’s wife walks in and the ‘Sunshine in the doorway was cut off’. One interpretation of this quote could be that the light symbolises the friendship between George and Lennie when Curley’s wife cuts the ‘light’ out it foreshadows the end of the novella with George ending the ‘light’ with a bullet. An alternative view could be that when Curley’s wife walks in, she actually does block the sunlight coming in. This could show how she brings darkness in the ranch as she goes around and tries to flirt with everyone but they do not want her. This results in Lennie showing his dark side as he murders her in cold blood.

Steinbeck’s use of colour in the description of Curley’s wife foreshadows the upcoming bloody situation that will appear later on in the novel. Evidence to show this is his repetitive use of the word ‘red’, in her description. This could prove she might somehow be involved in bloody situation or has been involved. Her red nails could show that her hands have been stained with blood as she may have committed murder. ‘Red’, could also show the ‘love’ that she is trying to get from the men.

In the ¬¬extract, Steinbeck cleverly employs colloquialism to depict Curley’s Wife’s character. When she enters the bunk house, she sighs “Oh!” when she finds out that her husband Curley is not amongst the other men on the ranch. At a glance, the word “Oh!” could suggest that she is genuinely surprised by Curley’s absence and she cannot do much without him, representing women’s status in society at the time – useless without men. However, upon close inspection, this can be seen as an overreaction and instead is just an excuse in order to talk to the other men, possibly because she does not like her husband due to her lack of freedom in the relationship because of her status in society. Furthermore, the use of the exclamation mark could actually communicate that she is feeling annoyed that her husband is nowhere to be found, which gives us the impression that she is shouting and beaming. Some readers may feel disgusted that Curley’s Wife is seducing other men whilst being a part of a marriage, and not committing herself to her husband, Curley. Alternatively, other readers may feel sympathetic towards her due to the fact that he can be seen as misunderstood and is just a lonely woman who wants someone to talk to, which may foreshadow what she will do in the rest of the novella.

Steinbeck’s clever indication of each character helps the reader understand each character. Steinbeck present Curley’s wife as “playful” this suggest that she is a flirtatious character and she likes to play with other men however it can also mean that she is bored as she is the only girl on the ranch and she wants to have some “playful” time for herself. The word play is cleverly used by Steinbeck as it has more than one meaning to it, at first to the reader it gives a bad impression of Curley’s wife which leads them to think she is a tramp but on the other hand, it can also mean that she is segregated from everyone as she is the only women on the whole ranch and as modern reader we can feel sympathy for her and understand that she is just being “playful” to get attention so she has someone to talk to.

Finally, in the novella Steinbeck cleverly uses the words “Hi good – lookin” to convey the fact that Slim is being a gentleman and complementing Curley’s wife. However the use of these words could also convey how people would speak at that time and this can clearly be seen when we zoom into the text and notice that the spelling of looking is different and it is spelt “lookin”. The readers have now been made aware that the spelling is in colloquial which suggests that all people who live on the barn speak in this particular way. Alternatively, Steinbeck’s use of the words “good – lookin” could also make the reader aware that all members of the barn are not calling Curley’s wife by her REAL name because at this time in America, women were treated as property and objects, hence Curley’s wife is known as many words in the novella, such as “good – lookin”, “tramp” or simply Curley’s wife but she is not known by her real name. This shows a hierarchy, and in that hierarchy women are seen as objects hence they are at the bottom of the hierarchy alongside black people such as Crooks and disabled people such as Candy.

Of Mice and Men Essay: Team DANTV

Essay written by Denoth, Ahsan, Nikita, Tariq and Vanisha.

Throughout the novel Steinbeck intelligently uses symbolism to portray the impact of different characters. This is clearly displayed through the use of the dark and light symbolism as the ‘sunshine in the doorway was out-off’ when Curley’s wife entered. The words ‘sunshine… cut off’ shows that she brought darkness to the room. This could signify that she brings problems to the ranch. It could also mean that the ‘sunshine’ which is their happiness without her is ;cut-off’ and decreased greatly with just her silhouette implying that the sheer fact that she is a woman between these men and are ignoring her and could cause lots of trouble. If we zoom in on the word ‘cut-off’ it could be foreshadowing the consequences of entering the bunkhouse which we later find to be the death of Curley’s wife. It symbolises the fact that Lennie and George’s ‘rectangle of sunshine’ which was their new job was ‘cut-off’ by Curley’s wife towards the end. It may cause reader’s to think that she represents the twist that may change or turn the story around. To a reader this represents something interesting that is going to change the men’s life.

One of Steinbeck’s method is imagery. This can be seen in the extract as her ‘body was thrown forward’. Steinbeck cleverly uses imagery as a language feature as this paints a clear image of Curley’s wife. Steinbeck cleverly uses the phrase ‘thrown’ to indicate to the reader about how women were ‘thrown’ in the society as it was a society of patriarchy where men were the dominant ones and women were the recessive ones. Alternatively, the phrase ‘thrown’ could suggest the woman’s relevance, as the only relevance is most of the times were for the women to stay indoors and take care of the family. This would make some readers feel disappointed, as women could do something in society. On the other hand, some readers may feel that this is right as women physically are unable to do what men do. Moreover, Steinbeck also uses the phrase ‘forward’ to possibly indicate that Curley’s wife wanted attention as she was the only female on the ranch. Similarly, the word ‘forward’ could also imply the American Dream and how it is related towards the men rather than the women, as they have a high relevance and were also higher than the women in terms of hierarchy.

Steinbeck uses of vivid vocabulary for the reader to imagine how Curley’s wife looked. He described her dress with having ‘little bouquets of red ostrich feathers’ which immediately gives us the impression of her being quite well-off at the ranch. Considering they were ‘ostrich feathers’ it must have been very expensive and especially how they were suffering from the Great Depression from when the book was set. The word ‘red’ is repeatedly used to describe her appearance. On the whole she is quite admired by the ranchmen so ‘red’ could connate to love. However,  another interpretation on the word ‘red’ is that she is a flashing warning for the ranchmen and is used as a device for foreshadowing later events with Curley’s wife. Steinbeck portrays a very ambiguous image of Curley’s wife but we definitely know she dressed very well.

One of Steinbeck’s method to present Curley’s wife is dialect. Steinbeck has deliberately made Curley’s wife speak informally in Of Mice and Men. Words such as ‘lookin’, ‘ain’t ya’ and ‘tryna’ are written in an informal way and we could interpret that the spelling of these words shows how much of a rebellious character Curley’s wife was. Alternatively, we could interpret that the spelling of these words show how uneducated Curley’s wife was and this foreshadows the silly decisions that Curley’s wife makes when letting Lennie feel her hair towards the end of the novel. The reader may find her dialect to be annoying purely because of the way that these words are pronounced.

Throughout the book Steinbeck represents men to be superior than women. When Curley’s wife leaves the bunk house George says ‘so that’s what Curley picks for a wife’. If we zoom in on the word ‘picks’ it tells us that men has more power of women as Curley had the power to ‘pick’ any girl he wanted and make her his wife. It seems as if she had no option as the word ‘pick’ is quite demanding. George is downgrading her as he is not saying it pleasantly because in the line before he calls her a ‘tramp’ which highlights the attitude the men had towards women. She was seen as a ‘tramp’ even though she was just asking a few questions.

Of Mice and Men Essay: Team BAMP

Essay written by Bhumika, Abdulbari, Mohammed and Poonam.

Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as a person who is maybe a shadow of darkness. Steinbeck’s uses of imagery when it say “rectangle of sunshine in the door way was cut off”, there Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as a person who brings darkness. The phrase “sunshine cut off” creates an image in the readers mind as if Curley’s wife brings darkness or is more powerful. We as readers feel as if Curley’s wife is high in power after reading the first line. When “both men glanced up, Steinbeck is creating an image that could suggest that the men are looking at a powerful being God.

Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as very powerful we knows this as she says “bye boys”, Steinbeck’s use of alliteration shows us that Curley’s wife sees the boys at the bottom of the hierarchy because of the use of the word “boys” Curley’s wife also indicates to us that she thinks that they are “childish” we understand this because “bye boys” is not something that you would hear a lot it shows us that ageism as the Ranch Boys of could be represented as “young”. Alternatively it could also present Curley’s wife as “flirtations” as she may say “bye boys” to get the boys attention.

Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as low in status by Steinbeck’s methods of using adjectives, “her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages”. The adjective “little” shows how “little” power she was given on the ranch and made inferior amongst the superior me in the room. An alternate interpretation is she could be seen “little” in a physical way as the ranch was full of migrant workers who were quite big such as Lennie, here how she is described as “little” could suggest that men have to look down to her showing she is still inferior.

Steinbeck uses descriptive language in the presence of Curley’s wife, he doesn’t use simple words such as “dark red” to describe her, instead he says “fully rogues lips”. The word “rogues” suggests that Curley’s wife is a very mischievous but loving person as is very sexually active and likes to her body off to boys, but Slim actually respects her as he calls her “good-lookin’”. An alternate meaning to rogue is that Curley’s wife is a dishonest person and she may become a traitor, this fore-shadows the events of the future that could happen that leads to a crisis within the ranch.

Of Mice and Men Essay: Team DATJAK

Essay written by Daud, Akbar, Tameekha, James, Anisha and Khadija

Steinbeck has a recurring theme of light and darkness prevalent throughout the novel. This is extremely present in the start of this extract, when the “rectangle of sunshine… was cut off”. This was effective as “sunshine” has connotations with light. The fact that Steinbeck has stated that she has “cut off” this source of light instantly creates very insightful imagery as we picture the room slowly falling into darkness. This was not surprising as Curley’s Wife is made guilty of luring the men into her pit of darkness and as the ranch is a microcosm of society, it only makes sense that Steinbeck supported the patriarchy with this novella. Also, the quote foreshadows the climax of the novel as it is Curley’s Wife who causes Lennie and George to flee. Therefore, Steinbeck is warning his characters to steer clear of this woman who brings darkness to everything she touches, her grasp inescapable.

Steinbeck uses the adjective “red” and repeats fingernails throughout the passage. Curley’s Wife’s “fingernails were red” and she “loomed at her fingernails when Lennie was looking at her”. The word “red” makes us think of danger and fear, which could foreshadow her death. Lennie looking at her while she “looked at her fingernails” supports this point as Lennie ends up killing her. At this point the reader may feel sympathy for her as the world “red” can be thought of as a “tart” colour so Steinbeck is implying that she is a “tart”. Also the reader may feel sympathy for her because she can’t even look Lennie in the eye which shows the hierarchy between men and women. On the other hand, if the reader has different/negative opinions on women they may feel no sympathy at all for her as she could be seen as a “tart”.

Steinbeck cleverly portrays women in the novella by using the character of Curley’s Wife by describing her as “heavily made up”. The use of the word “heavily” can suggest that she has a lot of makeup on. However, on further glance, an alternate interpretation may be that the weight of her makeup is pulling her down, making her an insignificant character on the ranch. However some readers think that because she is “heavily made up” it can suggest that she is insecure about her appearance, meaning that she wants to change herself because she has things to hide from the other men on the ranch. Others think that because the character is insignificant because she is a woman. The use of “heavy” use of makeup is to grab the reader’s attention of the men on the ranch, making her feel slightly meaningful to herself.

One of Steinbeck’s method cleverly shows the power of Curley’s Wife through her “nasal brittle quality”. The use of the word “brittle” is metaphorically shown by her spirit being broken easily. This could be said as she doesn’t receive Curley’s love and attention and that she is damaged within because of her past and the circumstances of how Curley and her got married. However, this could also mean that she is difficult and hard to handle because she is a flirty character which shows why Curley left her alone and doesn’t give her that attention she deserves. Readers may feel confused as they don’t know who is behind the failure of the relationship as they are both at fault somehow. Therefore this helps the reader engage more in the novel as it gives them a chance to think about the quality of their relationship.

During Curley’s Wife’s entrance, very early on she is described as having “her body thrown forward” while engaging in conversation with the men on the ranch. Displaying her body “forward” to the men on the ranch will no doubt raised some eyebrows and consequently made them pay more attention to her then they were originally. After George’s very cold-hearted response to her question regarding Curley’s whereabouts, it may have left her feeling dismissive and so resorted to her willingly displaying her womanly assets to the view of the men. Alternatively due to the word choice “thrown”, this description of Curley’s Wife may not be so innocent. “Thrown” implies aggressiveness and force which when being about her “body”, greatly parallels with Lennie’s treatment of her later on in the barn. This description of Curley’s Wife may have well been Steinbeck’s way of foreshadowing her brutal treatment. At first glance many readers may rightfully believe that this is just a desperate plea for attention by Curley’s Wife but with men like George who called her a “tramp” after having just having met her, who can blame her?

One of Steinbeck’s methods is his use of verbs to create imagery in the reader’s head. When she is in conversation with George she smiled archly and “twitched her body”. The use of the word “twitched” may be cleverly included to foreshadow her death where her body also “twitched” when Lennie snaps her neck. If we further zoom into the word “twitched” we normally associate with an animal, like a fish when it is pulled out of the water. Therefore because of this, some readers may argue that the inclusion of the word “twitched” is to portray her as a bit of an animal. An alternative interpretation is included to create imagery in the reader’s head and emphasise how vividly twitching can be and how graphic it is compared to just moving her body. Her twitching is followed up by admitting “you can’t blame a person for looking”. This is a further comparison to an animal as an animal stares at its prey.