Of Mice and Men - Background stuff to help you get an A*

Things that will help you get those extra few marks.

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  • Created by: panna
  • Created on: 21-05-11 12:34

The Structure

Nature starts and ends the novel.

  • The novel is balanced, it starts and ends outdoors and the rest in the middle is at the ranch.
  • The ranch is not a good environment for dreamers like George and Lennie because they just want to get out. They don't belong there.
  • Lennie is descibed as an animal throughout the novel which is appropriate in the end as he dies out in the nature.

One of the novel's messages is that 'having a dream goes against the laws of nature'.

  • This links to the thought of 'survival of the fittest' and this may be why the book starts and ends outdoors.
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The Structure (continued)..

Nothing goes right for George and Lennie.

  • Although things go bad for George and Lennie, they always had their dream to keep them going.
  • Whenever they are getting a break, things seem to go wrong for them again soon after.

The violence of Lennie's actions gets more and more...

  • It starts off with a dead mouse, then a dead dog, then a crushed hand, then a dead girl and then dead Lennie.
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The Structure (continued)..

It's a novel that is written like a play...

  • Steinbeck made the novel very dramatic and very visual to make it like a play.
  • Each chapter has just one location.
  • The location descriptions at the beginning and end could be like staging directions for the director.

The characters also have specific visual qualities...

  • Curley's wife with her bright red accessories.
  • The contrasts between George and Lennie.
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The Language

Steinbeck wrote in the language of real people in 1930s California.

  • Steinbeck uses harsh words against many people in the book such as '******' but he wasn't just trying to be offensive, he just captured a moment in time, that wasn't racist back then.

There were lots of odd words...

  • 'canned' - getting sacked.
  • going on the 'county' - being dependant on miserly, demeaning state handouts.
  • getting 'greybacks' or 'pants rabbits' - lice from unhygienic working or living conditions.
  • 'hoosegow' - prison.
  • the 'booby hatch' - the lunatic asylum.
  • 'bum steer' - wrong information.
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The World in the 1930s

The American Economy was a nightmare.

  • After the Wall Street crash in 1929 the whole of America went into economic depression.

The American Dream was dead.

  • There was no unclaimed land that poor masses could claim as their own.
  • Wages were so low no one could save.
  • Poverty and starvation was high in California

The World was in a mess.

  • The nazis were in power in Germany
  • Civil war broke out in Spain
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Isn't this all from the CGP 'of mice and men' revision guide?

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