12 Mar 2013

GCSE Exam Questions: Social and Historical Context of Of Mice and Men


John Steinbeck: the man who's been causing GCSE students so much pain all these years
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Most GCSE English students this year will be writing about Of Mice and Men. A lot of them will forget to write about the social and historical context and lose marks.

Some will write about it, but in a fat clunky info dump. DON'T write one big paragraph about it then forget it completely. Information should be threaded through the essay, one sentence at a time to answer questions like:

Why is Curley's wife nameless, powerless, and lost in a farm full of bitter workers? Why are the men so bitter?

Why did Steinbeck write Of Mice and Men? What point was he trying to get across?

What was Steinbeck's viewpoint on the characters, on Lennie and George, Crooks, Candy?

Where does the title Of Mice and Men come from and what does it mean?

Why are Chapters One and Six set in the same place, and what effect is Steinbeck trying to create?