Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men: The examination questions

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In the Paper 1 English Literature examination you will be expected to spend 45 minutes on ‘Of Mice and Men’. There are two questions:

• Part (a) will be based on an extract from the text, which will be on the paper

• Part (b) will ask about the whole novel

You will be expected to hit three assessment objectives:

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• AO1: respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations

This means it is a good idea to have your own critical ideas about the text and be able to think imaginatively about what the author does with the story, the characters, the language etc. Obviously, you have to get good short quotations to back up any ideas you have about the text!

• AO2: explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings

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This means you have to look in real detail at the words and techniques the author uses to create the setting, the story and the characters of the novel form. What literary devices are utilised? How do they impact on the reader? In addition, you must make a point about the structure of the story. What happens where? It may be something about how each chapter starts, it could be about when an event takes place both within a chapter or within the novel as a whole; it may be about the cyclical nature of the novel – the fact it ends where it began. It could be about what happens in the middle of the novel. Make at least one point about structure over the two questions.

• AO4: 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.

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This means you must talk about America at the time. You can bring in things about the Great Depression; the migration...
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