Of Mice and Men Practice Essays

This is some practice essays i did for the English Lit exam, read the essays or answer the questions for yourself. Hope this helps.

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Of Mice and Men Practice Essays
1) Explore the significance of Crooks in the novel.
Crooks is significant in this novel as it is showing the context of life in America in the 1930s, where
there was a lot of racism against the Chinese and black people, Crooks is used in the novel to show
discrimination with his disability (which is why he is called "Crooks" but also because of his colour it is
shown in the novel with language being used like "Crook's face lighted with pleasure in his torture"
this also links to when Slim says that people who go round farms on their own get "mean" and this
isolation of Crooks as he is the only black man on the farm it shows how he gets "mean" and is
getting pleasure in torture. Another more important quote from the book that shows the effect of
racism against black people at the time, "Listen, Nigger" which was said by Curly's wife, but the word
"Nigger" wasn't an insult in itself as it was the term the people at the time used but it is the manner
she says "in scorn" which shows the menacing nature of her speech. She goes on to say "you keep
your place" which shows that black people at the time had a "place" in society, which is shown as true
in the context as we know they had specific toilets and sections of restaurants for black people, so
the book is showing a truth of the context of the racism. The racism goes on as Crooks "seemed to
grow smaller" as "she [Curley's wife] closed on him" this shows her persistence to exert her authority
and in the end Crooks "had reduced himself to nothing" especially as she says "I could get you strung
up on a tree so easy it ain't funny." Which shows the extent the racism goes even to the point of
conviction and death with no trial and how easy Crooks could be blamed even when he didn't do
anything.
2) Explore the importance of Curley's wife in the novel.
Curley's wife is significant in the novel, her significant is similar to Crooks as it just shows the very
discriminative nature of the American west at the time, although it wasn't as horrific as the racism
against black people where they could get hung, women didn't have the same rights at the time, the
women were expected to be in the house and some were considered as "ornaments". This is
mirrored when Steinbeck hasn't given Curley's wife a name; he just calls her Curley's wife, which does
imply ownership over his wife that just adds to the contextual reference of the time. Curley's wife
seems flirtatious and disloyal but you get a better picture when she talks to Lennie in the farm before
her death. Even the colour Steinbeck uses to portray her throughout the novel, the colour red is
significantly used as it portrays her as flirtatious, and could also signify she is dangerous and her
inevitable and foreseeable death which Steinbeck also gives us a glimpse of from the start of the
book when George tells Lennie "you leave her be". Considering the period of the time, women usually
travelled with the men looking for work, women did a lot of work, especially poorer families where
the women also had to work to get money while the richer families it was seen as "inappropriate" and
"embarrassing" for a husband's wife to work especially if they haven't got any money problems, but
during the times of "the depression" money problems were plentiful, but in the novel, Curley's dad is
in a better financial situation than many people at the time. This shows truth to the novel when
compared with the context at the time as Curley's wife has a husband who isn't rich but has a family
who are rich and can afford a good (debateable) life. Although as she works on a ranch with only men,
and no female company she gets "lonesome" and this would explain her attention seeking where she
says things like "hi good-looking", "bye, boys" and even one of the words Steinbeck uses to describe
her demeanour when talking to the guys "said playfully". Curley's wife shows the importance and
commonality, of the discrimination against women at the time, the 1930s.

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Explore the relationship between Candy and George in the novel.
The relationship between Candy and George at first is distrust as he says "what the hell you doin'
listenin'?" and "pokin' your big ears into our business" and later on in the book after they had built a
slight relationship, Candy asks about their dream.…read more

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In the novel loneliness is a prevalent theme throughout the novel, as all the characters are in a
lonesome position with and exception of Lennie and George who have each other, there is proof of
the loneliness scattered throughout the novel, in the part of the novel where Candy asks to join
George and Lennie's dream he says "I got no relatives nor nothing", although Curley and his wife are
married, Curley's wife even admits to her loneliness "I get awful lonely" when she is…read more

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