Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
– Section Five
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Plot summary exercise
Complete the plot summary by filling in the blanks:
Lennie is in the barn. He is stroking the _________
Curley’s wife arrives and talks to Lennie.
He strokes her _________
hair but when she tells him to stop,
he panics and breaks her _________.
He goes to hide in
the __________
like George told him. _________
Candy finds her
body and tells the men what has happened. They prepare
to find Lennie to ________
him. Carlson discovers that his
gun has gone.
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Setting the scene
Once again, Steinbeck takes great care to set the scene,
making the reader use all their senses to imagine the barn.
On the brainstorm below, replace the ‘sense’ words with a
quotation that relates to that particular sense.
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The dead puppy that Lennie strokes is symbolic – it
represents or stands for something else. On the brainstorm
below, add your own ideas about what the dead puppy
could mean. The first one has been done for you.
Lennie does
not know his
own strength.
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Curley’s wife
Curley’s wife plays a fairly small part in the novel, but her
role is very significant. Answer the questions below to show
your understanding of her character, and her importance in
the book.
Why do you think Steinbeck never gives Curley’s wife a
name? Try to think of more than one reason.
Why does she come to talk to Lennie?
Re-read what she says about her life and the dreams she
has. What does this tell you about her character? How
does this relate to the theme of the American Dream?
Why does Lennie react so violently when Curley’s wife
gets angry with him? What do you think her death might
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Animal imagery
Re-read the part of this section where Lennie kills Curley’s
wife. Again, Steinbeck uses animal imagery in connection
with Lennie. Why do you think he does this? Find one
quotation from this scene to replace the picture below.
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Re-read the paragraph below. This piece of writing uses
alliteration. The effect is cinematic. Why do you think this
passage appears at this particular moment? What is the
effect of the use of alliteration?
'As happens sometimes, a
moment settled and hovered
and remained for much more
of the letter
than a moment. And sound
of the letter
stopped and movement
stopped for much, much more
than a moment.'
The repeated ‘m’ sound makes you slow down your speech. This
relates closely to what Steinbeck is describing - the way that time
can go into slow motion when something important is happening.
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Closing the scene
Re-read the paragraph below which is taken from the end of
the section. Again, the writing seems to have a cinematic
quality. Why do you think Steinbeck closes the scene in this
way? What does the description of Candy remind you of?
The scene
Candy is
gradually, like 'The sound of the men grew fainter. described in
a camera
The barn was darkening gradually, a similar way
to his dog.
panning out. and in their stalls the horses shifted
their feet and rattled the halter chains.
Old Candy lay down in the hay and
covered his eyes with his arm.'
He has seen enough pain and misery
and is tired of it all.
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Why does Steinbeck open this particular section so
Why do you think Lennie takes the puppy with him
when he goes to hide?
3. Why does Candy go to get George first when he
discovers the body?
4. What has happened to Carlson’s gun?
5. What do you think will happen next?
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How much can you remember?
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