English literature essays mice men

Contents

  1. Of Mice and Men Essay Questions
  2. Of Mice and Men Edexcel English Literature Revision Guide
  3. Popular Services
  4. Studying The Themes Of Mice And Men English Literature Essay
  5. What Does It Take to Write an Essay?

Shifting from ranch to ranch, from one menial job to another, the Californian itinerant worker risked a life of meaningless labor - of pure, cynical sustenance. George and Lennie, with their dream of acquiring a farm, represent an attempt to stand against such perpetual loneliness. Even the name of the city near which the novel is set - Soledad, which is Spanish for "solitude" - resonates with this theme of loneliness.

How is this allusion meaningful in the novel? Consider some similarities and differences between Burns and Steinbeck's works. And, indeed, Of Mice and Men features two men with a scheme - to escape their lives of menial, temporary employment - that goes awry.

Of Mice and Men Essay Questions

Beyond this simple plot similarity, the two works both consider the relationship between the human and animal worlds. Burns poem, in which a field worker offers philosophical reflections after upsetting a mouse's nest, mirrors Steinbeck's work, in which Lennie unintentionally destroys the lives of small, furry animals including, at the novel's opening, a mouse, which is a clear wink at the Burns poem.

Of Mice and Men is highly "dramatic" - that is, similar to a drama or play - in its structure and action. Describe the ways in which the novel is like a play. Why did Steinbeck choose to put his work together in this way? Each chapter of the novel takes place in a single location, aside from a short walk at the beginning of Chapter One. Thus the novel is structured, much like a play, into "scenes.

The narrator, meanwhile, is minimally intrusive.

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This "dramatic" form of writing allows the novel to progress rapidly and portentously, building symbolic density and narrative tension without becoming too heavy-handed. It also, by the way, allowed Of Mice and Men to be adapted for the stage almost immediately after its publication. Of Mice and Men is often studied as an example of "foreshadowing" in literature.

How does Steinbeck foreshadow the pivotal events of the book?

Of Mice and Men Edexcel English Literature Revision Guide

What does this effect do for the tone of the book? Nearly every word and image in the novel is carefully chosen to guide the reader to the accidental killing of Curley's wife and the mercy killing of Lennie.

The gun used to shoot Candy's decrepit dog is later used by George to shoot Lennie; the many small animals that Lennie crushes out of love foreshadow his panicked killings of his puppy and, moments later, Curley's wife; and the event that drove George and Lennie out of Weed Lennie's false accusation of rape parallels the scene in the barn between him and Curley's wife. This dense layering of related plot elements gives the plot an element of inevitability - as though fate has preordained the tragic events of the book.

Several of the characters in Of Mice and Men display physical and mental impairments. Identify and describe these characters. How do these impairments influence or reflect these characters' roles in the novel? Of Mice and Men is a novel about impairments, both literal and symbolic. Most of the men in the novel are impaired in some fundamental way, most often in terms of their loneliness and isolation. In the case of several characters, this symbolic impairment becomes expressed literally through their damaged bodies.

Crooks and Candy are hunch-backed and lame; Curley's hand is crushed an injury which reflects on his damaged masculinity in general.

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The most conspicuously impaired person in the novel, Lennie, is impaired in an altogether different way. Bodily, he is the most able man in the novel, but mentally, he is incompatible with social life. Thus the different nature of his disability reflects and emphasizes his inability to survive in the lonely, desolate environment of the itinerant worker. Consider Curley's wife. Is she a sympathetic or an unsympathetic character?

Would you characterize Steinbeck's portrayal of her as fair, or do you detect misogyny in his depiction? Curley's wife, the only major character who is not given an individual name, is indeed an enigma. In the first chapters of the book, she is simply awful - a flirtatious, provocative "tramp," to use Candy's word for her. However, in the later part of the book we do get a glimpse at a richer inner-life as she speaks about her loneliness, her regrets, and her unhappy marriage.

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Studying The Themes Of Mice And Men English Literature Essay

On the whole, however, Steinbeck's depiction of Curley's wife is quite disturbing from the perspective of a modern reader. Discuss "the rabbits," the dream of a farm that George and Lennie share and repeat aloud. How does this story of "how things will be" function in the novel? What does it reveal about George, Lennie, and their relationship? The story of "how things will be" comes off much like a bedtime story - an oft-repeated tale which Lennie even has memorized, much like a child memorizes his favorite stories that has a soothing, dream-like effect on both teller and listener.

The parental nature of George and Lennie's relationship is quite clear in these passages, as George the parent uses the story to soothe and encourage Lennie the child.


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This ritualistic recitation provides their work with meaning and purpose; by the end of the novel, though, as the tragic current of the book proves irresistible, the story takes on a poignant quality. Of Mice and Men opens and closes in a natural setting.

What Does It Take to Write an Essay?

The chapters in between take place in various man-made settings - the bunk house, the barn, Crooks' room. Get ready to write your paper on Of Mice and Men with our suggested essay topics, sample essays, and more. Of Mice and Men by: John Steinbeck. COM Buy Now. Important Quotations Explained. Main Ideas Here's where you'll find analysis about the book as a whole, from the major themes and ideas to analysis of style, tone, point of view, and more.


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  • Quotes Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of the book by reading these key quotes. Further Study Test your knowledge of Of Mice and Men with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on context, background, and movie adaptations, plus links to the best resources around the web.