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AS and A Level: John Steinbeck
84 AS and A Level John Steinbeck essays
- Peer Reviewed essays 5
This is a sound enough essay which aims to analyse the character of Curley's wife. There is much to say about this character though she is an arguably easier character…
This candidate shows very vague focus in their answer. It is not clear was the task here is. This shows the the candidate has not focused their answer well enough…
- Essay length: 801 words
- Submitted: 28/06/2004
- Reviewed by: sydneyhopcroft 06/04/2012
How does John Steinback convey the tension of the situation in the card-playing passage in chapter 3?3 star(s)
This essay response is directed at a question that asks about how Steinbeck creates tension in the few moments before Candy's dog is shot in the back of the head…
- Essay length: 688 words
- Submitted: 26/01/2004
- Reviewed by: sydneyhopcroft 23/03/2012
'Of Mice and Men' - The killing of candy's old dog foreshadowed Lennie's death. Describe the two killings, pointing out any similarities and differences between the two.3 star(s)
The question here asks for a description and comparative analysis of two section of John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men', the two sections being the killing of Candy's dog and…
- Essay length: 684 words
- Submitted: 12/01/2004
- Reviewed by: sydneyhopcroft 24/03/2012
- Essay length: 2523 words
- Submitted: 10/01/2009
- Essay length: 917 words
- Submitted: 15/10/2007
Readers often feel sorry for many of the characters in of mice and men. Explain why this is so and which character you have the most sympathy for.
- Essay length: 1346 words
- Submitted: 12/03/2007
- Essay length: 2075 words
- Submitted: 11/03/2007
John Steinbeck's biography
- 1 John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. His family owned land in the area so he spent a lot of time outdoors and had a strong appreciation for the natural world.
- 2 Most of his early work is set in Southern California and describes the life of people working on the land. Many of his novels, including Of Mice and Men, are set in this area and portray the lives of working men and women. The natural world he describes is beautiful, but it is also wild and can be cruel and savage.
- 3 In his early novels Steinbeck portrays a world of men, and violence is a common occurrence. His female characters have little status, reflecting the role of women at the time.
- 4 During the war years Steinbeck worked for the American government and in 1943 he went to Europe as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. He lived the latter part of his life in New York where he died in 1968.
- 5 The title of Of Mice and Men is taken from Robert Burns’ famous poem To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough (1785). The last line of the poem refers to things often going wrong and Steinbeck links this to the poor men whose plans were often wrecked by an unkind fate.
Five facts about 'Of Mice and Men'
- 1 It was first published in America in 1937. In the same year it was adapted as a stage play and later as a film. The novel is short and has only a few characters. There are no chapters but the action is broken up into six distinct parts which made it easy to adapt for the stage.
- 2 The novel is set in the 1930s which was a period of economic depression. During this time of failed businesses, harsh poverty and long-term unemployment, hoards of migrant workers went to California in search of work. Men travelled alone, moving from ranch to ranch on short-term, poorly paid contracts.
- 3 By setting the novel on the ranch, Steinbeck shows the reader a microcosm of 1930s American society and portrays the life of the migrant workers in California at the time of the depression. Workers, like George and Lennie, were hoping to earn enough money to settle down on their own piece of land.
- 4 Steinbeck has a distinctive style and structure; the novel starts and finishes with the same description and setting, and each section opens with a specific description of a scene which establishes the setting of place and mood.
- 5 As each character enters we get a brief physical description of him/her. Aspects of the characters are conveyed through their actions, their dialogue and how they respond to each other.
Writing about 'Of Mice and Men'
- 1 When studying the novel it is important to know the social, cultural and historical background of the text. Having this knowledge will help you better understand why Steinbeck has included his characters and how they relate to the themes.
- 2 Characters in the text are revealed through a variety of stylistic features: description, narrative style and how they communicate with each other. All of these features are so that the reader can empathise with the characters.
- 3 There are several themes running throughout the novel: loneliness, friendship, isolation, prejudice, and dreams; and you must understand how the themes are woven through the text and how they link directly to the characters and the society portrayed in the novel. For example, Curley’s wife links to the theme of loneliness because she is the only woman on the ranch and has no-one with whom to talk.
- 4 You must be able to analyse how Steinbeck has used language to create effects – some of his description and storytelling reads almost like stage directions through which he creates a strong sense of atmosphere and mood. This analysis of language is needed to achieve a high grade.
- 5 You must develop your own critical sense and personal response to the novel, showing that you have thought about it, and that you have ideas and reactions of your own, not just those of your teacher. You must never write to a formula or try to recreate an essay you have previously done; you must approach every essay with a fresh, open mind.
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