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 – 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 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 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.

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.