English Poetry and of Mice and Men Exam Practice

what to look for in poetry
•techniques, why?????

woman work and overheard in country Sligo
▪woman work-very busy mood and atmosphere-because of the rhyme! reflects everything she has to do
▪Overhead-calmer, more relaxed, slow pace!-reflects here quite country irish life.

the women themselves are different, one busy one maybe too
•neither women feel like they have a lot to call their own
•woman work talks about she can only call nature her own-“star shine, moon glow/your all that i can call my own”
•overheard-says how she wanted her name in a book or on Angelou-implies stage, didn’t get what she wanted “i ought to feel happy”-implies she should but doesn’t

•both spend their time doing house work

The poem, Woman Work by Maya Angelou shows how busy life can be for a black woman in southern american, and the general mood is very busy, with the use of rhyming giving it a quick pace, reflecting on her life. It also highlights how she doesn’t feel like she has a lot to a call her own in life, implying everything she does is not for self. The poem, Overhear in County Sligo shows the life a married woman in rural Ireland and the poem has a much calmer mood and slower pace reflecting the quiet she lives. It talks about dreams that the woman once had, and how maybe she’s not as happy with her lot in life. ‘I find my face in the glass/I ought to feel I’m a
happy woman’ this stands out to me in this poem as I think it provokes very strong emotions and empathy towards the woman, by showing how unhappy and unfulfilled she feels.

One of the main differences between these two poems is the pace and mood. Woman Work has a much a quicker pass and busier mood whereas Overheard in County Sligo is much slower and more relaxed. In Woman Work Angelou uses short lines and a rhyme, to give the poem a quick pass. Reflecting on how busy life may be for the woman. Angelou writes, ‘I’ve got the children to tend / the clothes to mend’. These lines are quite short, and the pace implies that the woman has to do all the work and has a lot of responsibilities. The use of the word ‘tend’ also makes looking after the children sound like a very tedious thing and almost chore like, implying that she feels she many other and maybe more important things to be doing. In Overheard in Country Sligo the mood is much calmer and the slower pace gives a relaxing mood. Clarke writes, ‘with a field of cows and a yard of hens’ this line, like the majority in the poem is quite longs and has a slow pace when reading, this may have been done to reflect the woman’s lifestyle, and the poets use of describing the countryside makes life seem very calm and idyllic, almost as If the woman doesn’t have a lot she has to rush for.

One the main similarities in the poems is the impression that neither women have much that they feel they can call their own. In Woman Work, Angelou writes, ‘star shine, moon glow/your all that I can call my own’ this shows that she doesn’t feel that she has much she can call here own, implying that all the work she dos is not for herself, but for others. The uses of the words ‘shine’ and ‘glow’ to describe nature, implies that natures is possibly the one calm and beautiful thing in here life. In Overheard in Country Sligo, Clarke writes, ‘or have my name printed in a book/to see my thoughts on printed page’ this implies that the woman had bigger dreams than of getting married and I think the use of the phrase ‘my name printed’ shows that she wanted to have something that belonged to her and that showed everything she thought or did. I also think the fact that she states ‘I married a man from County Roscommon’ shows that she may feel little belongs to here or has her name on, and that maybe she feels that she’s living a
life for here husband and not for her self.

Another similarity in the poems is that both women spend their time doing house work and chores. In Woman Work, Angelou lists off everything the she has to do with her day. Angelou writes, ‘the floor to mop/the food to shop’ this makes her work seem very tedious and mundane and Clarke gives the similar impression about work in Overheard in County Sligo, when she writes’ and polish the lustre and brass,/to order and dust the tumbled rooms’. She makes does not make work sound very interesting or something that she enjoys. However a subtle difference between the two is that Clarke makes the woman’s work seem very monotonous or as if she has to force herself to it, whereas in Woman Work, work seem to be very hectic and rushed.

Valentine by carol ann Duffy and ……… by w h Auden
•valentine- its very personal she’s writing it to her lover, shown by using i and you- personal pronouns
•funeral blue- it seems more like he’s declaring his feeling, attitude, instead of referring to the dead lover – thus effects the mood.
•valentine- onion represents love but also link s to the future, time continues
•funeral- wants time to end, no future
•love stays with you, nothings the same when it ends

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy is about giving an onion as a gift on valentines day, to represent love, the poet is tired of meaning less cliché gifts and whats to give something truthful and poetic instead. She talks about every thing that the onion represents and what love entails, and the overall mood is very personal and uplifting, as if she was directly addressing a lover. Funeral blues is about life now that a lover is dead, and how its so difficult to understand how things can go on in life, but the fact that he uses a rhyme lighten the pace and shows that for others life will go on as normal. This poem seems more like the poet making a statement and has a very powerful, but sad mood as you realise how deviating a lose it is to the poet.

One of the main differences between the poems is the tone and mood that they sets. Valentine, is very personal, it implies through the use of the personal pronouns, ‘you’ and ‘i’ that its supposed to have a more personal and intimate feel. Duffy shows this when she writes, ‘I give you an onion./its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,/possessive and faithful’, she uses very powerful words such as ‘fierce’ and ‘possessive’ which create a more passionate and powerful mood, giving a reader a string sense of her love for this person. Funeral blues however has a different tone and mood, it seems a lot less intimate ad personal but more like the poet trying to declare their pain to everyone, instead of referring to the lover in a personal way, he uses 3rd person as if he’s telling others, not speaking to the dead lover. Auden shows this when he writes ‘he was my north, my south, my east, my west,’. This line is very strong and again reflects the sense of declaration that i think sets the mood throughout the poem, and the use of ‘he’ makes it feels like a statement that everyone should here, which differs to the personal account given by Duffy.

Another difference in the poem is the theme. Valentine talks about promise and future, where as in Funeral Blues it seems like the poets can’t believe there is a future and that life can still go on. Duffy shows this theme of future in several different ways, one being when she writes ‘Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,’ this line implies that she can imagine future with her lover, and the phrase, ‘if you like’ implies that they can make what they want of life, and that again there’s a future. Contrastingly in funeral blues Auden implies that he can no longer see a future know that he’s alone, and nothing is worth while, this is show mainly in the final stanza,’pour away the ocean, and sweep up the wood.’ implying that everything seems pointless in life and he can no longer appreciate the beauty in the world.

One similarity between the poems is the idea that love is every powerful and stays with you no matter how it ends. Duffy shows this in Valentine in the final stanza, when she uses the strength of an onions smell as a metaphor for love staying with you, ‘Its scent will cling to your fingers’. The use
of the word ‘cling’ in this line is very powerful and helps to show the level in which love stays with you, implying it’s hold over a person is very strong. Auden shows love in a similar light in Funeral Blues, he writes, ‘for nothing now can ever come to any good’ implying that love has changed everything, the way he perceives things and does things, showing like in Valentine the power love has over a person.

Look closely at the text, what does it real about george’s character, how does he behave and speak? plan-
•george, it shows he’s aware of the prejudice towards Lennie-feels the need to lie about why they travel together.
•gets angry with Lennie, makes his life more difficult, doesn’t always appreciate or is aware of the trouble george goes to.
•he’s quite quick and sharp, he responds well to question, knows the right things to say

The extract reveals quite a lot about Georges character. It shows that George as quite a sharp and intelligent character, who seems to be able to say the right things. Steinbeck shows this when he write, george broke in loudly. ‘oh! I ain’t saying he’s bright. He ain’t. but he’s a god damn good worker’. This implies that george is very quick and sharp, he’s very aware of the right things to say. The fact that Steinbeck also uses quite sharp short sentences here when Georges is speaking helps to show Georges thought proses and you can see him thinking about the thing the boss night want to hear. The extract also reveals that Georges character is very aware of the prejudice towards Lennie, and wants to do what he can protect Lennie as well as ensure them a job. He does this by not allowing Lennie to talk, and explaining why he may not come across as smart because “he got kicked in the head by a horse when he was kid”. This also implies that george doesn’t share everyone else’s prejudice towards mental disabilities, or at least not Lennie’s. In the extract Steinbeck also represents george as having a short temper at times, especially regarding Lennie. Steinbeck shows this when he writes “be a damn good thing if you was,” george said viciously ” save everybody a hell of a lot o trouble”. this gives the impression that George finds moving around with Lennie very frustrating, maybe because he knows
that Lennie is always aware appreciates everything george does, and he’s knows how much easier things would be if Lennie wasn’t there. the use of the word ‘viciously’ reveals a lot about George’s character and shows that he is capable of being quite vastly and powerful when he losses his temper.

How the Steinbeck present slims character in the extract?
•made to seem very friendly ad welcoming-his tone was friendly, it invited confidence without demanding it.
•deep, wise, understanding, smart-his slow speech had overtones of not thought, but of understanding beyond thought — not like other ranch workers
•impressive, strong. — He was the prince of the ranch, capable of driving, ten, sixteen even twenty mules with a single line. — Just the length of Stienbecks destruction makes him seem more impressive.

•authoritative-all talk stopped when spoke. his authority was so great his word was taken on any subject. be it police or love

in extract Steinbeck presents slim as being very different to your typical ranch worker at the time and shows many aspects of slims character. one being that he seem very strong and impressive, Steinbeck shows this when he writes, ‘he was the price of the ranch, capable of driving, ten, sixteen even twenty mules with a single line’ this show how strong he is but steinboks use of increase figures makes him seem more impressive and as if he’s strength has no end. the length in which steinbok writes about slim also emphasise how impressive a character he is. In the extract Steinbeck also presents slim as being a very deep, understanding and smart character. Steinbeck writes, ‘ his slow speech had overtones not of thought but of understanding beyond though’. This implies that slims is a very deep character, who’s understanding is far beyond that of other ranch workers. slim is also made to seem very authoritative in this extract. one of the ways in which steinbok shows this is when he writes’ ‘his tone was friendly, it invited confidence without demanding it’. this shows slims character as being very friendly, but also as very reasonable and welcoming. the use of the word ‘confidence’ also highlights that slims a character who is able to better others and confident that jet simp;y being around him enables others to be more open and confident. Finally Steinbeck shows slims slim authority. He does this when he writes, ‘all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great his word would be taken on any subject wether it be politics or love’ this quote highlights every aspect of slims character and the way people view him, it reinforces the fact that he is wise and knowledgeable ,as well as showing his power and straight over others.

How does Steinbeck create mood and atmosphere in the extract? plan-
•peaceful and innocent, sets the mood through describing cureless wife
•quite, time stops

Steinbeck creates mood and atmosphere in the extract through describing how quiet it is in barn. He describes how things change, and the way he looks at light gives a very calm and almost magical atmosphere. ‘the sun streaks were high on the wall by now, and light was growing soft’ the makes everything seem very bright and the uses of the word ‘soft’ creates a magical and beautiful atmosphere which helps to reflect upon how Curley’s wife is portrayed know she is dead. Steinbeck also creates mood in the extract with the line ‘and sound and movement stopped for much, much more that a moment,’ the reinforces the magical and peaceful atmosphere in this scene, and the use of the word ‘stop’ makes the reader themselves pause and think about for a moment, creating a very deep and more effective mood. Steinbeck also creates mood in this extract through his description of Cruley’s wife, ‘ and the meanness and the planning and the discontent and ache for attention were all gone from her face.’ this line makes the reader feel a sense of the pain she felt when she was a live, but by referring to her pain Steinbeck also creates a stronger sense of freedom and relief now that see has died. the phrases ‘gone from her face’, also allows the reader to picture the scene and what she might look like creating a more real atmosphere.

what to include-
•context- the time
•what happens

For which character do you have the most sympathy for? Show how Steinbecks presentation of your character creates sympathy. plan-
▪curelys wife
▪prejudice- i can’t tai to know body but curly, jailbait, tart
▪loneliness-think i don’t like to talk to nobody ever once in a while
▪unhappy marriage – think I’m gonna stay in that 2 by 4 house and listen to how curley gonna lead with his left
▪american dream-i could have been in the pitchers, failed know she’s with curley
▪symplahy in beauty in death, reveals hr pain
▪the way she confided in lennie – ‘i don’t like curley he aint a nice fella’

i have the most sympathy for curleys wife in the novel as i think that she has had a lot of disappointment and hardship in her life. one way in which stienbeck creates sympathy for her character is through showing her loneliness and how unhappy she is in her marriage. she does not seem happy or in love with curley, or the new life she has to lead to on the ranch, and her marriage is the main reason she’s so lonely, it has meant she’s isolated on the ranch, ‘think I’m gonna stay in that 2 by 4 house and listen to how cureless gonna lead with his left.’ and the fact that she doesn’t seem to anything common with curley and he’s quite self pbsored means she doesn’t feel happy. and when she confides in lennie by saying ‘i don’t like curley, he aint a nice fella’ it generates sympathy by showing how unhappy she is about her life, and the fact that she says he aint a nice fella almost makes her appear trapped. the way she is treated by the other ranch workers also generates sympathy, as it makes her seem very unwanted, as most of the ranch workers judge her harshly, and she’s accused of being a ‘tart’ and ‘jailbait’. the ranch workers attitudes towards her also shows the prejudice women faced at the time, and the fact that she’s is a married women means no one should be talking to her, and she’s expected to stay in the house and conform to society in the 1930’s. one of the main ways in which Steinbeck creates sympathy for her character is through the way she is presented in death. he describes her as young and pretty, and the emphases he puts upon how all the plottig and meanness left her, and she looked so a peace, made all the pain she’d felt in life very real. her american dream also generates sympathy, as it shows the hard ship and disappointment she’s had to face in a life, but the she also deep down thinks she might get there some day. it shows the sort of life she desired and in a way that might have made her new life on the ranch harder to face.

How does John Steinbeck presentation of George throughout the novel affect your feelings towards him?

In this essay I will explore the presentation of George throughout the novel. One of the ways in which Steinbeck presents George is as a caring man. This is largely show through his parental attitude towards Lennie. He is shown to care about out Lennie and tries to keep him out of trouble even though he does not actually have any obligation to. This is shown during the first chapter when we see George take a lot of responsibility for Lennie, carrying his things “think I’d let you carry your own work card” and generally looking after him . This factor affected my feelings towards George, especially as during the time it was not normal for one man to care so much for another, especially ranch workers, as shown when slim finds out they travel together, “I never seen one guy care so much for another”. However George is shown to lose his temper with Lennie on several occasion, an example being in the first chapter when Lennie asks for ketchup, “you always want what I ain’t got”, showing how difficult life can be for George traveling with him.

This generates some sympathy towards George for me as it again shows how he puts up with Lennie because he loves him, even though he knows how different his life could be if he travelled alone. George’s attitude towards the American affected my feelings towards his character as well, especially as we saw it develop throughout the novel, and there are three main points that show how he feels towards the American dream. The first being when he is telling the story of their farm to Lennie, he interrupts himself and says “I ain’t got time for no more”, I think this shows that sometimes he gets caught up in this story, showing how much he longs for it but that deep downs knows how near impossible it is to achieve. The second point that I think is key to Georges attitude towards the American dream is when candy offers to give them the money. We see how excited George is when he says “we’ll do her”, this point affected my feelings towards him as it shows how much he wants the dream and gave me a sense of Georges happiness. I think that the main point regarding George’s attitude towards the dream was after candy had shown George Curley’s wife’s body, it’s during this scene we see how the dream was always really something for him and Lennie, and if he can’t do it worth Lennie it seems he doesn’t want to do it at all. All of these points really impacted my feeling towards as it generates a lot of emotions such as joy and sympathy towards George.

How is the relationship between Curley and his wife important to the novel as a whole? plan-
•shows that during the time relationships weren’t always based on love
•prejudice- Curley doesn’t let his wife talk to others
•loneliness-shows that even though your wit someone you can still be lonely- happiness
•their relationship is not close, this causes cureless wife to stray to talk to others, talk to Lennie

Loneliness is at the heart of the novel, to what extent do you agree with this?

Show how Steinbeck presents the theme of friendship in of mice and men? plan-
•presents it as rare- ranch workers, time
•presents it as brief and fragile
•presents it through candy and dog
•lennie and george
•maybe look at slim being v. understanding and friendly and curly not trusting new people.

Steinbeck presents the theme of friendship is several different easy throughout the novel. Steinbeck presents friendship as rare throughout the novel, during the 1930s male friendship between ranch workers was very rare, one point when this is show is when the ranch boss say “i never seen one guy take so much trouble for another”, implying that friendship between men is a very rare thing, and that workers may prefer to to keep to themselves. the rarity of lennie and georges friendship is also shown through several statements implying that they can not just be friends, for example when george and lennie meet curley as well as the boss they are questioned about the motives of their friendship. as well as presenting friendship as rare, Steinbeck also presents it as fragile, as we see the two major friendships end, candy and when his dog is shoot and lennie and george, when george kills lennie.

‘The characters are powerless’ do you agree i do not agree all the characters are completely powerless, how ever in some ways the majority of them are for- Lennie
•can’t control him self, relies on others, mental illness.

-Curley’s wife
•prejudice, Curley controls her


What do you think?

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