Revision Links: A Christmas Carol

As part of your revision for a Christmas Carol, watch these videos:

Full audio book with text:

2009 Disney Film:

Plot Summary:

Thug Notes:

Mr Bruff’s playlist:

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These websites are also excellent:

Bitesize: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/topics/zcs8qty

Sparknotes: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/christmascarol/

Litcharts: http://www.litcharts.com/lit/a-christmas-carol

 

English Literature: Paper One Overview

Some last minute information about the English Literature exam tomorrow:

lit 1

Some information about the assessment objectives:

lit 2

Suggested activities to revise:

lit 3.png

Of Mice and Men – Chapter 3 recap by Vanisha

Opening Description

  • “Instantly the table was brilliant with light, and the cone of the shade threw its brightness straight downward, leaving the corners of the bunkhouse still in dark”.

This foreshadows how everyone else (main characters) will always be in the light as they are superior however characters like Lennie will be left in the “corners… still in dark”. The word “dark” could also represent how “bright” or intelligent the characters are again portraying how the “bright” intelligent ones will be in the light and move on while the dumb characters or “weak” characters will be left in the dark in the “corners” neglected like crooks showing there is not much difference in the power between women, the disabled and black people.

Slim and George

  • Background about weed
  • Background about Georges relationship with Lennie.
  • Length of conversation shows the importance of characters and foreshadows their future relationship because he doesn’t hold back on information when he is talking to slim also showing that slims character is trustworthy.
  • Steinbeck intelligently uses Slims relationship with George to inform readers about George and Lennie’s relationship. – “too dumb to take care of ‘imself”
  • “made me seem god damn smart alongside of him” shows is similarity with Curley because of intimidating weaker characters to make themselves look better but George understands his mistakes and regrets his actions- “we ain’t done that no more”. This shows the point that we are all like animals hence the title “Of Mice And Men” because we fight for positions-“survival of the fittest” which is amplified in the society of 1930’s America. Steinbecks novella is a metaphor for human existence.

Lennie and the Puppy

  • Mirrors chapter 1 where he steals the mouse which shows he’s a simpleton as he makes the same mistakes repeatedly.

Candy’s Dog

  • Metaphor by Steinbeck which shows that the weak are useless and should be rid of which is like Benthamism that the strong survive and the weak deserve to die because they didn’t make the effort- cynical. It shows that we live in a cruel world and the American dream is a lie and is a belief founded on privileged people.

Whit and the letter

  • Represents hope which is a recurring theme in chapter 3.
  • Show that the small achievements in life become big and seem significant in a hopeless world like 1930’s America.
  • Western magazine which dreams and hopes are linked with.

Dog Shooting

  • Candy and his Dog are similar to George and Lennie but George actually shoots Lennie himself. It shows that it’s a harsh world to kill animals but do we live in a world so harsh that we do the same to humans?
  • Candy and the dog’s relationship is shown by many quotes like “le’s wait till tommora’”, “find some reversal”, “Candy lay rigidly on his bed staring at the ceiling”, “it came out of the night and invaded the room”.

Attitudes to women

  • “got the eye goin’”
  • “Shes jail-bait”
  • “ain’t no place for a girl”

Curley chasing his wife

  • Keeps chasing throughout the book.
  • He never has power and his wife is one of the only places where he can show and use the little power that he has.
  • Curley and his wife are not seen together until she dies when even then he’s not sad but wants revenge on Lennie
  • A reason why the novel is famous is because it gave weak people a voice so many people could relate to it on a deeper level.

The Dream

  • Finally seems real and possible because of Candy’s financial backing.
  • Only time when George talks about the dream and isn’t annoyed by the end of it.- “his voice growing warmer”
  • “they looked at one another amazed” showing that they never really believed until now.

The fight

  • A lot of animal imagery
  • “flopped like a fish” in “Lennie’s paws”- how bears catch fish with bare hands. Links to his wife which is described in the same way at the end.

After the fight

  • Slim blackmails Curley.
  • Shows slims leadership and how he manipulates the situation intelligently.
  • George’s reassurance to Lennie shows that he’s not mean because when there is a problem he is there for him and backs him up.
  • Derogatory-Lennie’s is weak.

Of Mice and Men – Chapter 2 Recap by Daud

List 3 significant descriptions of the bunkhouse:

  • “whitewashed” (segregation)
  • “small, square windows” (freedom/ American dream)
  • “solid door” (masculinity)

e.g. The ‘solid door’ could represent the men on the ranch’s need to be a hard and ‘solid’ man. Perhaps it also highlights their ideology regarding emotions and how they won’t allow their feelings to show, not opening their metaphorical ‘solid’ door of emotions.

The symbolism of Western Magazines:

“love to read”

“scoff at”

“secretly believe”

The Western Magazine provides the men hope that they will one day walk into the sunset like the ‘western’ characters they read about and become a hero like the cowboys in these magazines. This places the American dream on a pedal stall causing us to empathize for the men on the ranch as we as readers know that it is most probable that they will live the rest of their lives on the ranch.

The purpose of Chapter 2 is to introduce characters!

Curley “a thin young man”

“tightly curled hair

Boss “a fat legged man”

“squinted his eyes”

“pointed a playful finger”

“high heeled boots”

“to prove he was not a labourer”

Candy “the old man”

“gray of muzzles”

“blind old eyes”

Curley’s Wife “rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off”

“rouged lips”

“fingernails were red”

“Her hair hung in little rolled clusters”

Slim “the prince of the ranch”

“His hands… as those of a temple dancer”

“face was ageless”

 Action

  • Whitey (the last worker on the ranch before George and Lennie) left. It depicts how these men are migrant workers and are used to travelling. George’s scepticism about the lice on the bed and how this spans over pages shows its more than just the bed. It acts as a representation of George’s lack of faith in humanity as humanity has treated him so harshly.
  • Important quote: George said ominously, you betta’ watch out for Lennie he’s “strong”, “quick”, and “don’t know no rules”.
  • Candy is the helper on the ranch but also to the readers as his character provides power to the readers as we are informed- through candy- the latest gossip running through the ranch.

Solitaire: Some aspects the game of solitaire represents:

-George is a solitary man

-He is isolating himself due to his mistrust in men.

-He is absorbing everything around him, he is looking busy but is thinking carefully, “thoughtfully” about the new people he had met.

-It acts as a defence mechanism so no one bothers to talk to him.

Summary

Candy’s old dog -> foreshadows the fate of the weak.

Curley’s wife -> trouble to come with her promiscuity.

Curley -> trouble to come with his physical boxing skills.

Crooks -> a sign of racism and segregation to enter the story through the use of the derogatory ‘N’ word used against him in this chapter.

Curley and slim drowning puppies -> this resonates with the story George later tells slim in chapter 3

George reveals that he used to play jokes on Lennie because “he was too dumb even to know he had a joke played on him.” One day when George, Lennie, and other men were loitering around the Sacramento River, George ordered Lennie to jump into the water:

“I turns to Lennie and says, ‘Jump in.’ An’ he jumps. Couldn’t swim a stroke. He damn near drowned before we could get him. An’ he was so damn nice to me for pullin’ him out. Clean forgot I told him to jump in. Well, I ain’t done nothing like that no more.”

Of Mice and Men – Chapter One Recap: by Nikita

Thank you to Nikita for writing up this comprehensive set of notes from our lesson revising chapter 1:

Description of the Brush- page 1

  • “path beaten hard by boys coming down from the ranches”
  • “limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it”
  • “leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among”

The brush only appears in Chapter 1&6 where George and Lennie are alone together. It’s a place where they feel safe. There are a lot of links and symbols of animals that Steinbeck presents in his cyclical novel.

The Two Protagonists- George and Lennie

George: “dark of face”, “restless eyes”, “sharp, strong features”, “small, quick”, “strong hands, thin”.

Lennie: “his opposite”, “huge man”, “large, pale eyes”, “wide sloping shoulders”, “dragging his feet, the way a bear drags his paws”.

Similarities with both: “denim trousers and denim coats with brass buttons”, “shapeless hats”, “carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders”.

It is ironic how Lennie – who is the bigger person- isn’t as strong as we may think he is at first impression as his mental capability is the very opposite.

Their First Conversation

  • George leads, Lennie follows.
  • Their back story which is given in Chapter 1 foreshadows everything that is to come in the book.
  • In Weed “they run us outta Weed”– foreshadows trouble they’ve been in before.
  • Aunt Clara “Lady huh? That was your own aunt Clara” – foreshadows dangers with women.
  • The Bus “Bastard bus driver” – presents George’s angry nature and explicit language.
  • Mouse “What you want of a dead mouse anyways” – foreshadows the deaths.

Steinbeck from the very start of the book presents a naïve and vulnerable character for Lennie which makes the reader very fond of him so that even in the later part of the book, where he commits murders, we don’t despise his character. Every character in the book is a typical stereotype in this microcosmic world.

The Murders

  • Mouse dead Chapter 1
  • Dog dead Chapter 5
  • Curley’s wife dead Chapter 5

As the story continues each murder by Lennie (in size) gets bigger from mouse, dog, a human. The mouse is extremely small compared to Lennie however his mental capacity is the same as a mouse. Steinbeck may even be trying to show that Lennie kills things he loves therefore he is a real threat to everyone.

During the time the book was set everyone was suffering from the Great Depression so when they were eating the tin of beans it was very relieving as they wouldn’t know when the next time for them to eat would come.

Lennie and George’s Relationship

“If I was alone I could live so easily”– says George but as readers we know he doesn’t really mean this as he loves Lennie’s company even though he is hard work to put up with. If George didn’t have Lennie as his companion he would be as lonely and bitter as the other men on the ranch that we later learn about in the book.

However, Lennie isn’t as daft as we initially think he is as he quite cleverly says “George, you want I should go away and leave you alone?” – Lennie tries to manipulate George to make him feel guilty and realise that his life wouldn’t be the same without him. Lennie doesn’t manipulate him in a bad intention but in a rather child-like manner which reflects his persona on the whole too.

Towards the end on Chapter One George tells Lennie about what life is like for “Guys like us” as he is reassuring Lennie that they’re both doing things together and have each other’s back. It shows how sad and lonely life was like for ranch men and makes readers sympathise for them.

Chapter One’s Significance

  • Shows man’s place in nature and how everything around is really safe as we humans originate from nature too.
  • Animalism is a common theme in Chapter One when describing Lennie also.
  • Gives the reader background information of the two protagonists and that information foreshadows the coming events in the book.
  • Addresses George’s tentativeness with Lennie and the fear of him getting them both in trouble.

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.

 

GCSE English Language: Question 4 example – by Rikesh

Our class have just finished our mock GCSE English Language exams. Perhaps predictably, our results for the tough language comparison question (question 4) were all lower than we would have hoped. However, there is no need for us to despair. We still have 6 months to prepare for the real exam and we have a clear idea of where we need to improve.

Additionally, we are very fortunate that Rikesh (who performed well in the mock exam) has typed up his answer to question 4. This was graded as a Band 4 response and helped him to achieve an overall A* in his mock. Please use this resource to help you with revising for the exam yourselves: it is a response to the June 2015 exam. 

Source 3 begins with the fact that there are “starving millions in India.” The use of the vague figure “millions” is very powerful due to the fact that there is no real number on the number of starving people there. Alternatively, the word “millions” could suggest that we are just assuming how many people starve and the situation may be much worse, but Anne does not want to face the facts. Similarly, source 1 uses the facts to give us an indicator of how many child labourers there are and “in eight years’ time” there will be “190 million” child labourers. This too gives us an insight of how many people are not really living their lives. However, due to the fact that this figure comes from an article, it may be more reliable since it tells us directly “190 million” and not a vague number as seen in source 3. The use of “eight” years may make readers feel that that is not good enough as that indicates that there are people who are working for the same low pay for a very long time.

Source 3 uses a simile to describe how the big cities “draw the poor like a magnet from the countryside.” The use of the word “magnet” implies that it gives the people false hope since they will still live in bad conditions, but the sheer thought of a successful life attracts them there. On the other hand, it could communicate to us that they have no choice but to move there as it couldn’t be any worse than it is for them currently. This may make readers sympathise for them as it is false hope that they cannot resist. Likewise, source 1 uses the metaphor “mining is like a magnet for child labour.” Once again, the figurative language includes a “magnet” which shows how the children cannot resist the temptation of earning money for their families. On the other hand, “mining” could suggest that it is the only job for them as they are small enough to work there, but this also adds to the temptation. This also makes the reader sympathise as it is false hope.

Source 3 is describes a “sliver of new moon” which could represent light which is a connotation for hope. However, the use of “sliver” could convey that there is only a little hope. However for the purpose of the source, which is about Anne’s experiences in India, a little hope is all the poor people could even dream of. This makes the reader feel happy for the people as it gives them something to hang on to and strive towards. In contrast, source 1 leaves the child workers with absolutely no hope at all, especially when “international agencies and aid donors” choose to “turn a blind eye.” The use of “blind” could show that the elimination of child labour is very possible, but it is not helped by the fact that no one wants to help. This makes the readers lose faith in humanity since we are not willing to help each other when in need.

Lastly, both sources use emotive language for effect. Source 3 indicates to us that there are “starvelings without hope.” The sheer use of the name “starveling” implies that they are seen as different compared to everyone else in society, and therefore should be treated differently. Alternatively, it could be to target those who are homeless as it makes it easy for some to understand. This could potentially make readers feel that there is inequality taking place and therefore despise those that refer to them as “starvelings’.” Similarly, source 1 uses emotive language when Gordon Brown describes child labour as the ““new slavery” for our age.” This shows that he has a powerful opinion that makes people upset to think that “slavery” is taking place in this time. The use of the phrase “new slavery” could suggest that it will last for a long time until eradication. This also makes readers annoyed as slavery is seen as a thing of the past – so we thought.