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Final Of Mice and Men Preparation

Quick post before the weekend to allow you all to practice over the weekend.

First of all Layers of Meaning

Top Band work will peel back the layers of meaning that made Steinbeck a Pulitzer Prize winning Novelist (Grapes of Wrath) and to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Firstly identify the surface level understanding of the characters and relationships from your quotation. This is our initial impression. Then peel back the first layer and see if that impression is fair. Once you've evaluated whether the first impression is fair consider if there is yet another way of looking at the quotation. You may want to reference the interactions with other characters here. Consider Steinbeck's craft. What devices are within your quotation and how do they influence the reader and zoom out to look at what wider point you think Steinbeck is trying to make.

To Sum Up:

Peel back the layer.
Alternate Interpretations

That makes a handy acronym!

When evaluating and zooming out to look at the intentions of the Author consider these things.

What is Steinbeck telling us about society through the microcosm of the ranch?
Why do we find it difficult to sympathise with Curley's Wife? Should we?
How do women fit in to Steinbeck's microcosm and can that be related to society as a whole?

One of the most interesting lines in the text for me is Slim stating 'Maybe everybody in the whole damn world's scared of each other.' Does this have any significance to Steinbeck's message?

Structuring your argument.

Let's look at the Mulvihill Model of structuring an argument. You have an introduction and conclusion that sandwich a range of developed paragraphs that look like this.

Each rectangular box represents a point you are going to make, which is developed with the use of quotations, peeling back layers and evaluations. These join and develop to give an overall answer to the question. The circles coming from the rectangles represent some of your alternate interpretations. They might not link and build your argument but they show sophistication of thought. You can use this model to create a very simple plan for a range of characters or questions.

Finally using more formal language in your assignments. If you look at the difference between 'I feel Slim is a character with greater foresight than the others' and 'Slim is a character with greater foresight than the others' you here the confidence exude from the second example whereas the first is uncertain. That is the name of Band 4 - Confident and Assured so try to write the majority of your essay in the third person. You can use first person to give personal perspective especially in your conclusion and some of your own original thought but overall, your essay should be 80% third person. below are the handy phrases that elevate the style of your writing. These are collated from a range of teachers to supplement the ones we already use.

Talking about writer's craft:

The author’s use of language / words / tone of voice is significant.
Imagery is significant in this section.
The imagery of ....  is especially significant in this section.
The author uses setting to convey ...
The characterisation of ... is developed in this section.
Structurally, this section is significant.


The author seems to be exploring the them / idea of ...
From one perspective we could say ...  From another we might consider...
Developing the interpretation further, we could argue that...
This links with.....
This idea is repeated when......

 Introducing Quotations

We can see this in the quotation ...
We hear the character described as ...
The word ... demonstrates this.
Arguably, the most significant words are ...  and ...
The image of the ... is crucial to our understanding.

Writer's Intentions

The author seems to be suggesting ...
The author is, perhaps, exploring  the idea of ...
The author is explaining, illustrating, uncovering, hiding, illuminating, developing,


The words suggest / imply / convey ...
This word / phrase / image / character makes me think of ... because...
This conveys feelings of ... because....
The word / image contains several ideas.  For example...

Plenty of practice this weekend and have a go at paragraphs if you wish and I can feedback.

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Olivia Riser
29 January 2013 at 18:50


I want to mention the point that you hear Curley's wife before you see her and in order for this to happen, Candy needs some sort of leverage from George and once he has achieved this Candy is happy to talk about her. I know that this taints the readers initial impression of her but I don't know why it happens and what is says about Candy and Curley's wife's relationship.

29 January 2013 at 21:32

Links back to the need for Companionship. There is a point where candy wants to trust George and gives him his opinion as it gives him a companion. Isuppose you could also link it to power as Candy may feel he has more power than CW. It's an interesting point - you could argue CW brings some of the men together through gossip and a united wariness of her apart from Slim

1 February 2013 at 16:38


How would you start the essay


3 February 2013 at 16:58

Broad opening showing a wider knowledge of the text then narrow the focus to Curley's Wife and her role within the novella.

Olivia Riser
4 February 2013 at 17:45

Why is it important for the reader to have a biased opinion of Curley's wife before she is introduced??

4 February 2013 at 18:42

Steinbeck uses language to show the power Curley’s wife has over Candy. Curley's wife shows her power over Candy through the use of spiteful comments for example ‘You bindle bums think you’re so damn good.' The phrase 'bindle bums' emphasises the power she has over Candy and the ranch workers. She emphasises her power over Candy and the ranch workers as she has something, which they all don’t, which is a place to call their own. She lives in a ‘nice house’ whereas the ranch workers all have to work and live in the ‘bunk house’ with nowhere to call their own candy try’s to defend himself highlighted in the line ‘maybe you just better go along and roll your hoop.’ He try’s to get her to leave by telling her she’s not wanted with the ranch workers but she threatens Candy and he backs down as he is afraid of what trouble she would bring to all of the workers like the fight Curley and Lennie have in chapter 3.


4 February 2013 at 19:22

Our initial impressions of the relationship between Curley’s wife and the ranch workers are one of danger and fear. Steinbeck crafts this through the use of symbolism of the colour red, which is always attached to Curley’s wife. The ranch workers call her ‘Rat trap’ this introduces us to the relationship between the men and Curley’s wife but we see that it is more complex. The word ‘Rat’ implies the unpleasant nature of Curley’s wife or could alternately be interpreted as the ranch workers being rats and that Curley’s wife are the bait to try and get them fired. The word ‘Trap’ emphasises the danger of her and the temptation to communicate with Curley’s wife. The colour red is a symbol of danger but can also be a symbol of passion, sex and love and may indicate that Curley’s wife isn’t looking for trouble or trying to cause danger but is only looking for attention, love or friendship. The men fear Curley’s wife as Steinbeck highlights their opinion through the use of negative imagery such as ‘Tart’ ‘you’ll see plenty’ these words highlight the negative imagery and stereotyping her to a prostitute saying as candy says ‘bet she’d clear out for twenty bucks’ this clearly implies they feel she acts like a prostitute but as we dig deeper we reveal that she is just looking for a friend. The ranch workers are also worried about talking to Curley’s wife as they see her as Curley’s property, everyone except Slim are afraid of Curley so try to avoid Curley’s wife as they are afraid of getting in a fight with Curley like Lennie does in chapter 3. Steinbeck is trying to highlight the lack of power that the lower class have over the upper and middle classes in the Great depression.


4 February 2013 at 19:37

Pop in and see me before lesson.

4 February 2013 at 19:39

That depends on what you think Steinbeck is exploring with the character of Curley's Wife? He clearly doesn't want us to feel sympathy for her but he does include her to illustrate something to the reader. As we can't ask Steinbeck, it is something that is subjective to you. What does Curley's Wife represent in the novel and why should it be viewed negatively?

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