As we focus in on what is required of us to hit the top bands in the Of Mice and Men assessment, we need to begin developing some sophistication in our language and ideas.
After 7 years of teaching the text, the most successful students have always been the ones that have engaged the examiner / me in some ideas that show they have understood the complexities of the text and not just the surface level of characterisation, setting and plot.
The key words in the mark scheme are sophisticated / impressive / perceptive.
Friday's twitter cast was aimed at developing answers and points that highlight the more complex nature of the text.
Here are two links to the storify version of Friday's lessons with everyone's ideas linked together.
There were a few issues that came up that were quite interesting:
1) That the characters are lonely but a bigger factor behind the feelings of the character is how the setting has thrown them together. From the isolated nature of the ranch, the claustrophobic nature of the bunkhouse and the irony of all the men being thrown together into a small setting yet all feeling equally alone to the more obvious nature of Crook's isolation from the men and proximity to the animals.
2) That the fear of being isolated keeps the men isolated. Nobody is prepared to take a chance with another character for fear of being left behind / outcast.
3) That most of the joy in the novel comes from the characters being with each other (especially Lennie as a 'safe' listener) yet the men all end up fragmented and alone at the end.
You all know the 6 skills you need to show top level skills - you can refresh your memory here and you also know that you need to modify the way you express your ideas by moving to a more formal academic register (see here) - but your key top level thinking skill is Evaluation.
Remember when evaluating and exploring Steinbeck's ideas that he has not written this text as a historical text (although we sometimes treat it as such). He was living in the Great Depression and the hangover of the 'roaring twenties' and The American Dream. He hasn't written this exclusively to show us what living in that time was like. There is a greater purpose to the text as I his highlighting what society was like but from the negative way he treats his subject material it is like he is trying to point out that changes are needed.
It is your job to show insight and make perceptive points about what Steinbeck is getting at.
Look through the ideas in the tweets - start to formulate your own ideas and if you want to discuss them, post them in the comment box below.