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Sarah Smith

What to expect in the exam


The exam undertaken for Of Mice and Men contains a question in which a specific time is placed to complete the question. Within the question that is given the main basics to include are language, structure and form on the section given. This gives you marks on your analysis of the question as they needed to be included from the section. Also the context of the section needs to be explored from the question, as it gives the background to the section which need to be related towards the time period. Lastly a type of theme present within the section may be asked, so the analysis included within your answer has to link back to the question to gain marks.

Context
The context of the novella can be seen as firstly the American Dream. This is evident from the beginning due to Lennie and George's dream concerning their own place and money, which was related to the time period. The novella includes the American Dream dominating Lennie and George's lives as they continually talk of the prospect of owning their own property, the desire of many migrant workers within the time period. This effected the audience of the time period, as many were witnessing the descriptions of the novella through Lennie and George's actions, with the hope that they felt evident.

The setting of the novella is based on an agricultural ranch within California, where Lennie and George leave to due to the circumstances of their previous working place. The ranch shows the migrant workers and the loneliness of the characters, who can be represented by the American people, whom many left home in search of work for money and property. George and Lennie go to the ranch in order to fulfil their dream to earn money and to gain property, so they can find a better dream and to gain a better life. This portrays many of the circumstances that Americans felt within the time period, as the reality of the American Dream led them in search of a better life. The narrative of the novella is circular, the setting of it starts and ends in the same place to give the reader a sense of gaining a perspective on the novel.

Characters
Lennie Lennie is a main character in which the novella is based on due to his childlike personality and tactile behaviour. Lennie can be represented through the title of the book as being a 'mouse' despite his appearance and strength, as his personality and interior are weak and dependant upon George. Lennie is significant within the novella as his death is foreshadowed within, when a ranch worker, Candy's, dog is killed in the back of the head, the link between the death of Lennie and the dog is significant. George George is the other main character who is strong and clever, whilst looking after Lennie. George can be related through the novella as being the 'man' of the title, as he acts strong and superior over Lennie, whilst being based within the story. Lennie and George are migrant workers in search of their dream, which is significant towards the novella due to the context of it.

Curleys Wife A character that is represented within the novella is Curleys wife, who is not given a name. She is significant due to the context of the novel, her previous work being a showgirl, highlighting the favoured work of many girls around the time period of the Roaring 20s and the American Dream. However through Curleys authority and control over his wife she does not live her dream, which can show the reality of the American Dream, illustrating the context of the novel. Also when she is killed by Lennie her significance within the American Dream is shown, as Lennie takes her dreams and aspirations away from her. Crooks Lastly Crooks is a character in the novella who is a black stable man who is treated differently. From the hostility shown towards Crooks throughout the novel, we can gather that he is not treated fairly or equally among the other characters due to the colour of his skin. This shows the time period of the novel, as black rights were still not accomplished for, highlighting the context of the time, as racism is present throughout the novel aimed towards Crooks.