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Chapter 2 Of Mice and Men. Focus: The Power of Words Controversial Language and Dialect. Connotation. The connotation of a word is the emotional response it evokes. When we are tuned into words, we understand that words can have a positive, negative or neutral connotation.

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chapter 2 of mice and men

Chapter 2 Of Mice and Men

Focus: The Power of Words

Controversial Language and Dialect

connotation
Connotation
  • The connotation of a word is the emotional response it evokes. When we are tuned into words, we understand that words can have a positive, negative or neutral connotation.
  • Being conscious of the connotation of the words we choose shows maturity and understanding in our writing.
  • Being aware of the connotation of the words we read is necessary to get the deeper meaning and/or intended meaning of the author.
what makes a word problematic
What makes a word problematic?

A word is problematic ( maybe even controversial)

when it is a label that has a negative connotation.

  • Gender : Think about, for example when someone wants to undermine a behavior (crying, emotional response, etc) they often portray that behavior as feminine. What implications does this have for all? For example, think of how crying by little boys has traditionally been looked upon. How do little girls feel if they are not emotional. What happens when we label books “boy books” or “girl books” and a kid picks from the “wrong” shelf?

-Sexuality – Jedidiah’s response to limitations on freedom of speech

-Socio economics

-Age

-Race

as you read of mice and men
As you read Of Mice and Men…

…examine and reflect upon how words have the power to:

  • limit people (Ex. Lennie)
  • degrade people (Look how Curly speaks to all the men)
  • label people (Ex. Curly’s wife)
  • isolate people (Ex. Crooks the black stable hand. Candy says, “They let the nigger come in that night.”)
of mice and men and the use of the derogatory terminology
Of Mice and Men and the use of the derogatory terminology:
  • Staying true to setting, time, place, characters
  • What does it mean if we ignore/skip over the word, for example, “nigger”? Maybe it means the word just feels too harmful to speak aloud, and that is your choice. Maybe you feel it is a part of history and ignoring the word means ignoring the suffering of many human beings and you are okay with saying the word aloud. This too is your choice.
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Cont…
  • In the 1920s, the word was commonly used to label and degrade people of African American descent.
  • At the time, they had no power to publicly fight back against the word.
  • The connotation is most definitely negative. In fact, it possesses one of the most negative connotations in the English language.
  • Food for thought: It is one of the most problematic and controversial words out there even in 2011. Why?