Band 4 -
Our initial impressions of the relationship between Curley's Wife and the ranch workers are one of danger and fear. Steinbeck crafts this through the use of symbolism of the colour red which is always attached to Curley's Wife and the ranch workers calling her 'jailbait'. This introduces us to the relationship between the men and Curley's wife but we see that it is more complex. Although red can symbolise danger, it also can symbolise love and passion and may indicate that Curley's Wife isn't dangerous but is only looking for attention or love. The men fear Curley's Wife as Steinbeck highlights their opinion through the use of negative imagery such as 'jailbait', 'rat-trap' and 'tart'. These words suggest danger or negativity towards her which may be because they see her as Curley's property because they don't give her a name and fear being sacked within the historical context of the great depression and the physical retribution Curley may deliver as highlighted at the end of Chapter 3 in the fight with Lennie.
Band 3 -
I think that the relationship between Curley’s Wife and the ranch workers is bad because they quote things like ‘jailbait’ which I thinks means that they think she could be trouble. Steinbeck writes this because it gives us the idea that they don’t like her and shows that she is going to be trouble which she is when she talks to Lennie. The relationship might not always be bad though because sometimes Slim is nice about her despite the fact that she wears red which could symbolise danger. The men are scared of Curley’s Wife because she is the property of Curley and he can get them sacked or will beat them up like he does with Lennie at the end of Chapter 3. This is why they use negative imagery towards her like ‘jailbait’, ‘rat-trap’ and ‘tart’ highlighting their opinion because of the bad things that they say about them.
We looked at zooming in and engaging with language and structure of a quotation which was the skill of analysis e.g.
The men see Curley's wife as a threat but there is also something intriguing about her which is particularly obvious in them calling her 'jailbait'. The particular juxtaposition between 'Jail' highlighting the danger in her with the temptation of 'bait' highlights both their fascination and fear of her.
Remember that analysis only gets you so far and to really target the top level answers you have to evaluate which we termed as zooming out to show how the skill of the writer in their use of language from the particular quotation we've chosen fits in to the wider jigsaw of the text e.g.
The men see Curley's wife as a threat but there is also something intriguing about her which is particularly obvious in them calling her 'jailbait'. The particular juxtaposition between 'Jail' highlighting the danger in her with the temptation of 'bait' highlights both their fascination and fear of her. Steinbeck skilfully weaves this idea throughout the men's encounters with Curley's Wife highlighting how she and her relationship with Curley is often discussed as a topic of some gossip yet when confronted by her such as in Chapter 4 they show fear and are rarely able to sustain any real power over her. This relationship of both wary interest and fear eventually leads to her death at the hands of Lennie.
As you can see, this develops the idea of writing a lot about a little however it also allows the examiner to see that you are able to place each quotation within the wider context of the novel.
If you haven't had a go at improving either of the answers with more analytical and evaluative detail then please do below.
I've also had a range of questions surrounding introductions. These are where you are able to show the examiner you are aware of the text as a whole and not just the narrow area of the question you are working towards.
Broad openings will often include:
Contextual Detail - The Great Depression, The American Dream
Thematic Detail - Dreams, Loneliness, The Place of Women
Awareness of key character's importance throughout the text.
The craft of the writer - Steinbeck's Imagery, The Form of his Novella, Semantic Field, Foreshadowing, Symbolism etc.
Please complete the survey here