How Does Steinbeck Create the Theme of Insecurity in the Novel?

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Write about:
Why some characters feel insecure
How language contributes to a sense of the characters’ insecurity •How the settings contribute to a sense of insecurity
Other features which create a sense of insecurity
You must:
Explore how Steinbeck creates a sense of insecurity through the presentation of insecure characters, eg through: Lennie, Crooks and Curley’s wife •Look at language/settings, eg the situation of Curley’s wife and how she feels about Curley and her life on the ranch, and her appearance •Show how Steinbeck uses language/settings to create insecurity, eg how language is used to show Lennie’s insecurity about George •End by evaluating how the different elements work together • In 45 minutes, three characters are enough to consider. Choose settings to look at in some detail, eg the pool in the valley where the novel begins and ends; the harness room (chapter 4) which is where Crooks lives; the Great Barn (chapter 5) where Lennie kills Curley’s wife. Comment on the language Steinbeck uses to describe characters and settings. • The movement from harmony to discord appears in most of the settings in the book. Look at the opening description on page 18. This peaceful world of nature is disturbed by the arrival of George and Lennie. Make your point and use evidence/quotation to support it. Lennie is described as a ‘bear’. This image establishes his essential nature – the combination of brute strength and animal-like innocence. An appropriate image which emphasises his tendency to hold onto things in a ‘bear-hug’. Steinbeck suggests a great deal about Lennie by describing his movements. • Now go on to look at what we learn about Lennie; George is ill at ease with Lennie’s behaviour as he helps him to rehearse how he should behave when they arrive at the ranch the following day. Comment on what causes Lennie’s insecurity. We soon see that Lennie is totally dependent on George, unable to cope in the world on his own. His...
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