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Of Mice and Men

Steinbecks' Of Mice and Men - Introduction

Hannah Tubbs

on 16 September 2013

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
Thank you for your attention!
Respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations

Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings

Relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts; explain how texts have been influential and significant to self and other readers in different contexts and at different times
Why is context important?
It is important to study the period, both in time and place, in which texts are written in order to fully understand and appreciate them. In addition to the author’s personal views and beliefs, many events and attitudes from the period will have influenced the content, plot and themes of the novella. So, to fully understand Of Mice and Men you will need to understand what happened in America between 1900 and 1940.
•To explore the the characteristics and behaviour of Lennie
Introducing Setting
lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
The Context
- social, cultural, historical
Read the extract from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was first published in 1925, twelve years before Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The novel is set in New York during the Roaring Twenties.

What were the ‘Roaring Twenties’ like? Highlight sections from the extract that you feel capture the spirit and mood of 1920s America and make a note of your ideas alongside the highlighted sections.
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902 where he grew up in a fertile agricultural valley
Much of his writing had been inspired by the Californian landscape where he grew up
Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour
Since Steinbeck grew up in California, he would have witnessed the aspirations of migrant workers, along with the mistreatment they suffered.
The roaring twenties
mickey mouse
wall street crash, leading to the 1930s: the Great Depression

Look at the following book covers and posters for John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Use one or more of them to make predictions about:
L.g: •Introduce the social and historical context of the novel
American Dream:
During the Great Depression, economic and ecological forces brought many rural poor and migrant agricultural workers from the Great Plains states, such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, to California.

Hundreds of thousands of farmers packed up their families and few belongings, and headed for California, which, for numerous reasons, seemed like a promised land.
15 million Americans (one-quarter of the workforce) became unemployed
Read beginning of 'Of Mice and Men
What do we know about Lennie already?
Note down four or five areas in the chapter that describes Lennie.

What can we infer about his character from the description? - Use specific examples.

I.e. The author infers Lennie is.....
The author uses the image of...
The description of Lennie ....
How do we know that Lennie is simple?

Make a prediction about what happened in Weed
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
L.G: To engage with the language of the text and extend knowledge of the text's opening .
How many adjectives can you think of to describe the image?
Image - setting
Activity: How Steinbeck wrote it.
Familiarise yourself with the opening of the text then read the list of adjectives provided on the worksheet. Working in pairs, copy the adjectives into the extract provided.
Activity: How Steinbeck envisioned it?

Do you think the opening to the film does the novel justice?

Work through the sheet looking at the strengths a weaknesses of the opening scene and how you direct this scene if you were in charge.
Watching the opening scene
If you could choose any actor to play Lennie, who would it be?
A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in
to the hillside bank and runs
. The water is
too, for it has slipped
over the
sands before reaching the
pool. On one side of the river the
foothill slopes curve up to the
Gabilan mountains, but on the valley side the water is
with trees – willows
with every spring, carrying in their lower leaf junctures the debris of the winter’s flooding; and sycamores with
mottled, white, recumbent
limbs and branches that arch over the pool. On the
bank under the trees the leaves lie
and so
that a lizard makes a
skittering if he runs among them. Rabbits come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening, and the
flats are covered with the
tracks of ‘coons, and with the
spread pads
of dogs from the ranches, and with the
tracks of deer that come to drink in the dark.
(streaming media: 35 mins)
The American Dream
To explore the idea of the American Dream
To investigate the American Dream in Of Mice and Men.
If I won the lottery I would... and I would share this dream with..
what is the American Dream?
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to achieve the fullest stature of which they are capable of, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the circumstances of birth or position."
Now, define, in your own words, what you think the term, ‘American Dream’ means.
George and Lennie's Dream:

For George and Lennie there is hope for the future. They have a dream and they think they have a good chance of achieving it. Use the table below to write a list of the different elements of this dream and also to explain why each is so important.

Part of the dream Reason it is important
They will be working
for themselves
1. George and Lennie's are two average American citizens in the 1930's. What does this tell you about American life in the 1930's?

2. Why might the America Dream be important to Americans in the 30's?

3. Do you think their dream was realistic? Give a reason for your answer.
ex: Write a P.E.E paragraph on the following question...

What does George and Lennie's dream show about American society?
Lennie is killed and never gets to experience his dream, what does this tell us about what Steinbeck thinks about the American Dream?
Ranch Characters and loneliness.

To explore life on the Ranch for a range of individual characters.

To identify and analyse the shared loneliness of certain characters at the ranch.
Reread the extract where George first describes the ’dream’ in Chapter one.
In pairs, make a list of aspects of the dream that are in complete contrast to their lives as migrant ranch workers.
Curley's Wife
Ranch conditions are pretty poor...

Which characters do you think have it the hardest on the Ranch. Put them in rank order from most sympathetic character to least sympathetic character.
In groups you are going to take one
of our four isolated characters.

Each group will have an extract from the text to respond to about their character. I will have these responses back at the end of the lesson and photo-copy them so that you all have them as a resource.
I think .... is the most tragic character because...
American Dreams
1. To explore how Steinbeck's theme of 'dreams' is presented across 'Of Mice and Men'.

2. To use clear example from across 'Of Mice and Men' to explain how Steinbeck puts across his particular point of view on the theme of 'dreams'.

3. To combine insight, evidence and wider textual knowledge to make a full interpretation of 'dreams' in 'Of Mice and Men'.
We will then create a PEE paragraph showing what we know about the theme of 'dreams' in 'Of Mice and Men'
In groups you are then going to become experts in the dream of one of our lonely characters from last lesson
Start by looking at George and Lennie's dream
During a previous lesson you won the lottery and you all had your own dreams about what you would do with the money.
Take another look at our lonely four. We know what Lennie would do with the money pretty well, but what do you think the other three characters would choose to do with their lotto winnings?

(This task asks you to think critically about the characters hopes and dreams given the position they are in on the ranch)
George and Lennie's Dream:
George’s voice became deeper. He repeated his words rhythmically as though he had said them many times before. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to.”
Lennie was delighted. “that’s it – that’s it. Now tell how it is with us.”
George went on. “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.”
Lennie borke in. “But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” He laughed delightedly. “Go on now, George!”
“You got it by heart. You can do it yourself.”
“No, you. I forget some a’ the things. Tell about how it’s gonna be.”
“O.K. Someday – we’re gonna get the jeck together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and – “
“An’ live off the fatta the lan’, “ Lennie shouted. “An’ have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.”
“Why’n’t you do it yourself? You know all of it.”
“No … you tell it. It ain’t the same if I tell it. Go on…George.
How do we read at GCSE?

1. When you first read the text underline or highlight any bits of the text that you think are interesting .

2. Read the extract a second time. On your second go, label the text that you underlined, indicating why you think it is relevant.

3. Read the questions. Do your labels already address
some of the points?

4. Decide what the question is asking you and select the appropriate evidence.
Write a P.E.E paragraph on one of the following questions:

Question for all: How does Steinbeck present the theme of the ‘American Dream’ through one character in ‘Of Mice and Men’?

Higher Order: With reference to one or more characters from ‘Of Mice and Men’, how does Steinbeck reveal his thoughts and feelings about the ‘American Dream’?
Look at your partners paragraph:
Have they answered the question?
Have they selected an appropriate quote to back up their point?
Have they gone on to explain that quote?
Give your partner one star and a wish
Note down any words or phrases from George that say something about his character? What is implied about George's character?

Extension: what have you established about the relationship of Lennie and George. How do you know what their relationship is like?
In today's world the dreams and wants of our lonely characters would not be so far out of their reach, however, Steinbeck paints a pretty bleak picture for our characters' futures in the time it is set.

qu: what does this indicate about Steinbeck's thoughts/feelings or opinions on the 'American Dream'?
Full transcript