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.

Easter Revision: Poetry and Non-Fiction Mash Up

Easter revision challenge: Read one of the poems from the anthology each day then come here to read a corresponding media article (however tenuous the link may be!)

Simon Armitage: Clown Punk – http://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/jun/01/no-future-punk-youth-rebellion

John Agard: Checking Out Me History – http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/mar/22/is-londons-ethnic-diversity-driving-its-school-success-story

Andrew Forster: Horse Whisperer – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/11478930/Why-the-long-face-Traditional-stables-make-horses-depressed.html

Carol Ann Duffy: Medusa – http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2011/jun/04/greece-insiders-guide-holidays

Daljit Nagra: Singh Song! – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/05/londons-asian-supermarkets

Jackie Kay: Brendon Gallacher – http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/28/children-imaginary-friends-widespread

Simon Armitage: Give – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-32071349

Dorothy Molloy: Les Grands Seigneurs – http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/11/thomas-asbridge-10-best-knights-in-literature-beowulf-chaucer-lionheart

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/breaking-bad-ozymandias_b_3931402.html

Robert Browning: My Last Duchess – http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/rb/duchess/pva313.html

Stevie Smith: River God – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32074953

Dylan Thomas: The Hunchback in the Park – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/richard-iii-now-hes-richard-the-reinterred–to-starstudded-acclaim-10137104.html

Thomas Hardy: The Ruined Maid – http://www.bbc.co.uk/poetryseason/poets/thomas_hardy.shtml

UA Fanthorpe: Casehistory: Alison (head injury) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/boxing/32071575

John Betjeman: On a Portrait of a Deaf Man – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19000769

Character and Voice Poetry: Aiming for A*

In order to get an A* in the exam, you should be imaginative with your response, ‘salt and pepper’ it with short, embedded quotations and ‘zoom in’ on the details. As I’ve said time and time again, it’s not about showing how much you know about the poems, but rather about how well you can analyse details to support your response to the poems. A* responses are fully engaged with the themes and ideas, making perceptive comments and interpretations. They also focus on the key skill – COMPARING! Here are some things to look for when comparing poems:


Here is a detailed comparison of My Last Duchess and The River God:


And another detailed comparison of The Ruined Maid and Singh Song!:


Unseen Poetry Preparation: The Road Not Take by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Unseen Poetry: William Blake ‘Love’s Secret’ by Guled

This weekend, Guled has explored an unseen poem and written a terrific response to it. Here is his annotated poem:

GY - Blake annotations

It can also be dowloaded here: GY Blake poem annotations

Guled created his own question for the poem:

How does William Blake explore the theme of love in his poem ‘Love’s Secret’?
Here is his response:
The first thing that struck me as a reader was the short length of the poem, a mere 12 lines. I felt that this was a representation of the quick decline, from loving this woman to resenting the concept of love to the point of writing a poem on the subject. This is also shown through the use of words such as ‘wind’, ‘cold’ and ‘ghastly’, all which have almost airy and thin connotations, therefore representing the ephemeral joys of love.
I believe the poet does more exploration of the theme of unrequited love than he does the actual emotion love in the first two stanzas. This is represented in the very first line ‘never seek to tell thy love’. This line serves as a warning to all yet to experience love, and, to those that do but are not sure if the feeling is a mutual one. The next line continues this with ‘love that never told can be’. This line reinforces the fact that the feelings the poet had for this woman is either not shared or is still unknown to his love interest. Read together, the both lines represent William Blake telling the reader that one should ‘never seek’ to confess their love for someone as there is a chance that you will be rejected. In fact, this could be William Blake using his experience to downplay the beauty of love as he has never been in love with someone who shares the feeling, his selfishness is shown in the first two lines as he does not want anyone to experience true love because he has not, thus the warning. Alternatively, the first two lines can be interpreted as a reflection of his caring nature and that he is telling the reader to be wary of love as he has experienced it to be bittersweet. Furthermore, the use of inversion in line two of the poem is not only a reflection of the time period of the poem, but also allows the reader to see the text in a different way, for example allowing us to focus on the word ‘never’, which is a strong word representing his now strong emotions. However, not only does the use of inversion allow the readers to see it differently, it also symbolises how William Blake now sees love differently and how he has come to the realisation that love is no longer the beautifully ethereal emotion he once thought it to be.
The title of the poem reads ‘Love’s Secret’. The use of an apostrophe in the word ‘love’s’ can be deliberate to show it as an abbreviation of the words ‘Love is’. Hence, allowing the readers to read it as ‘Love is Secret’. This could be William Blake telling us from the start, before we even start the poem, that we should keep love secret.
In line 5 the phrase ‘I told my love’ is repeated twice, this highlights that he told his love interest a lot, how deep his love is. On the other hand, he may not have have confessed his love at all and this entire poem may not be about him revealing his love to this woman, he could in fact be confessing horrible things he has done in his life to her prompting her to leave, however, the next line says that he ‘told her all [his] heart’ this solidifies that he has confessed all his love to this woman.
In lines 7 and the beginning sentence in line 8, shows that the man is ‘trembling cold in ghastly fears’ this creates the sense that he is anticipating something, an air of suspense. Then on the next line it say ‘Ah!’ this definitely shows that he was indeed expecting a reaction to this confession, the reaction being her departure, almost like the ‘wind’ he describes in line 3.
The use of the phrase ‘Silently invisibly’ is repeated twice and it could be a representation of how suddenly and quietly ‘she did depart’. However, its second use in the last stanza could depict how he is watching her meet this ‘traveller’. This interpretation helps the reader to see the extent of his love that he is stalking her ‘silently invisibly’. Love has driven him to the point of insanity.
The poem ends with a ‘sigh’. This sigh could come from one of two people, if not both of them. The poet (or the man the poet is playing) or the traveller. If it were to come from the traveller it shows that this traveller also knows the dangerous nature of love, but it seems to be like an addiction to these men and they cannot keep themselves. This theme of the ‘dangerous addiction to love’ is prevalent throughout the poem and it could be William Blake using it to show how desperate some, if not all, men are to love to and to be loved. If the sigh were to come from the poet it could be him ‘silently [and] invisibly’ watching his love be taken by this ‘traveller’. Therefore forcing him to come to terms with the fact that she may no longer be in his life.
I’m sure that you’ll agree this is a very insightful and detailed response – it would definitely get an A* in the exam. Thanks, Guled!