In the Unit 1 exam you will be given an extract from Of Mice and Men to closely analyse. So we have looked at possible extracts for the last 9 weeks but today I gave you a few more extracts the read, annotate and attempt a response. I am happy to mark any of your work – you can always leave work on my desk! Remember predictions are exactly that – my guess at what might come up. You need to show the examiner your understanding of Steinbeck’s style and the methods he uses in the text.
Here are the extracts for you to look at:
What methods does Steinbeck use in this passage to present Curley?
At that moment a young man came into the bunkhouse; a thin young man with a brown face, with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair. He wore a work glove on his left hand, and, like the boss, he wore high-heeled boots. ‘Seen my old man?’ he asked.
The swamper said, ‘He was here jus’ a minute ago, Curley. Went over to the cook house, I think.’
‘I’ll try to catch him,’ said Curley. His eyes passed over the new men and he stopped. He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at one calculating and pugnacious. Lennie squirmed under the look and shifted his feet nervously. Curley steeped gingerly close to him. ‘You the new guys my old man was waitin’ for?’
‘We just come in,’ said George.
‘Let the big guy talk.’
Lennie twisted with embarrassment.
George said, ‘S’pose he don’t want to talk?’
Curley lashed his body around, ‘By Chirst he’s gotta talk when he’s spoke to. What the hell are you gettin’ into it for?’
‘We travel together,’ said George coldly.
‘Oh, so it’s that way.’
George was tense and motionless, ‘Yeah, it’s that way.’
Lennie was looking helplessly to George for instructin.
‘An’ you won’t let the big guy talk, is that it?’
‘He can talk if he wants to tell tyiu anything.’ He nodded slightly to Lennie.
‘We jus’ come in,’ said Lennie softly.
Curley stared levelly at him. ‘Well nex’ time you answer when you’re spoke to.’ He turned towards the door and walked out, and his elbows were still bent out a little.
How does Steinbeck present the character of Candy in the below extract?
The wooden latch raised. The door opened and a tall, stoop-shouldered old man came in. He was dressed in blue jeans and he carried a big push-broom in his left hand. Behind him came George, and behind George, Lennie.
“The boss was expectin’ you last night,” the old man said. “He was sore as hell when you wasn’t here to go out this morning.” He pointed with his right arm, and out of the sleeve came a round stick-like wrist, but no hand. “You can have them two beds there,” he said, indicating two bunks near the stove.
George stepped over and threw his blankets down on the burlap sack of straw that was a mattress. He looked into his box shelf and then picked a small yellow can from it. “Say. What the hell’s this?”
“I don’t know,” said the old man.
“Says ‘positively kills lice, roaches and other scourges.’ What the hell kind of bed you giving us, anyways. We don’t want no pants rabbits.”
The old swamper shifted his broom and held it between his elbow and his side while he held out his hand for the can. He studied the label carefully. “Tell you what—” he said finally, “last guy that had this bed was a blacksmith—hell of a nice fella and as clean a guy as you want to meet. Used to wash his hands even after he ate.”
“Then how come he got graybacks?” George was working up a slow anger. Lennie put his bindle on the neighboring bunk and sat down. He watched George with open mouth.
“Tell you what,” said the old swamper. “This here blacksmith—name of Whitey—was the kind of guy that would put that stuff around even if there wasn’t no bugs—just to make sure, see? Tell you what he used to do—At meals he’d peel his boil’ potatoes, an’ he’d take out ever’ little spot, no matter what kind, before he’d eat it. And if there was a red splotch on an egg, he’d scrape it off. Finally quit about the food. That’s the kinda guy he was—clean. Used ta dress up Sundays even when he wasn’t going no place, put on a necktie even, and then set in the bunk house.”
“I ain’t so sure,” said George skeptically. “What did you say he quit for?”
The old man put the yellow can in his pocket, and he rubbed his bristly white whiskers with his knuckles. “Why . . . . he . . . . just quit, the way a guy will. Says it was the food. Just wanted to move. Didn’t give no other reason but the food. Just says ‘gimme my time’ one night, the way any guy would.”
How does Steinbeck present the character of Candy in the below extract?
When Candy spoke they both jumped as though they had been caught doing something reprehensible. Candy said, “You know where’s a place like that?”
George was on guard immediately. “S’pose I do” he said, “What’s that to you?”
“You don’t need to tell me where it’s at. Might be any place.”
“Sure, ” said George. “That’s right. You couldn’t find it in a hundred years.”
Candy went on excitedly. “How much they want for a place like that?”
George watched him suspiciously. ” Well — I could get if for six hundred bucks. The ol’ people that owns it is flat bust and the ol’ lady needs an operation. Say — what’s it to you? You got nothing to do with us.”
Candy said, “I ain’t much good with on’y one hand. I lost my right hand here on this ranch. That’s why they give me a job swampin’. An’ they give me two hundred and fifty dollars ’cause I los’ my hand. An’ I got fifty more saved up right in the bank, right now. Tha’s three hundred, and I got fifty more comin’ the enda month. Tell you what ——” He leaned forward eagerly. “S’spose I went in with you guys. Tha’s three hundred and fifty bucks I’d put in. I ain’t much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some. How’d that be?”
George half closed his eyes. “I gotta think about that. We was always gonna do it by ourself.”
Candy interrupted him. “I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ’cause I ain’t got no relatives nor nothing. You guys got any money? Maybe we could do her right now?”
George spat on the floor disgustedly. “We got ten bucks between us.” Then he said thoughtfully, “Look, if me and Lennie work a month an’ don’t spen’ nothing, we’ll have a hundred bucks. That’d be four fifty.. I bet we could swing her for that. Then you and Lennie could go get her started an’ I’d get a job an’ make up the res’ , an’ you could sell eggs an’ stuff like that.”
They fell into a silence. They looked at one another, amazed. This thing they had never really believed in was coming true. George said reverently, “Jesus Christ! I bet we could swing her. ” His eyes were full of wonder. “I bet we could swing her,” he repeatedly softly.
Candy sat on the edge of his bunk. He scratched the stump of his wrist nervously. “I got hurt four years ago,” he said. “They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk-houses they’ll put me on the county. Maybe if I give you guys my money, you’ll let me hoe in the garden even after I ain’t no good at it. An’ I’ll wash dishes an’ a little chicken stuff like that. But I’ll be on our own place, an’ I’ll be let to work on our own place. ” He said miserably, “You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs. I’ll have thirty dollars more comin’, time you guys is ready to quit.”
George stood up. “We’ll do her,” he said. “We’ll fix up that little old place an’ we’ll go live there.” He sat down again. They all sat still, all bemused by the beauty of the thing, each mind was popped into the future when this lovely thing should come about.
George said wanderingly, “‘Spose they was a carnival or a circus come to town, or a ball game, or any damn thing.” Old Candy nodded in appreciation of the idea. “We’d just go to her, ” George said. “We wouldn’t ask nobody if we could. Jus’ say, ‘we’ll go to her’, an’ we would. Jus’ milk the cow and sling some grain to the chickens an’ go to her.”
“An’ put some grass to the rabbits,” Lennie broke in. “I wouldn’t never forget to feed them. When we gon’ta do it, George?”
Remember – the more you read the text, the more prepared you will be!