Themes and small stuff explained
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Themes and Small Stuff Explained. theme    [theem]   Show IPA noun , adjective, verb,  themed, them·ing. –noun 1. a subject of discourse, discussion, meditation,  or composition ; topic:  The need for  world  peace was  the theme of  the meeting.

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  • theme

  •    [theem]  Show IPA noun, adjective, verb, themed, them·ing.

  • –noun1.a subject of discourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; topic: The need for world peace was thetheme of the meeting.

  • 2.a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.

  • 3.a short, informal essay, especially a school composition.



  • mo·tif

  •    [moh-teef]  Show IPA

  • –noun1.a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary,artistic, or musical work.

  • 2.a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, etc., in a design, as in a painting or on wallpaper.

  • 3.a dominant idea or feature: the profit motif of free enterprise.



  • sym·bol

  •    [sim-buhl]  Show IPAnoun, verb, -boled, -bol·ing or ( especially British ) -bolled, -bol·ling.

  • –noun1.something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign.

  • 2.a letter, figure, or other character or mark or a combination of letters or the like used to designate something: the algebraic symbol x; the chemical symbol Au.

  • 3.a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized,  as being part of that which is symbolized,  and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized:  usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.


Things you must do and know

  • Read the novel. The more you read it, the more prepared you will be for writing an essay on it.

  • Learn the character’s names and relationships.

  • Learn the setting  The author is making a comment on life at that time or in that place.

  • Learn themes and have quotations learned to back them up.

  • Understand ideas – don’t just parrot plot.

  • Know your techniques  symbolism, imagery, idiom, allusion, stereotype…

  • Think about vocabulary  is the vocabulary in the novel formal? Colloquial? What does this say about the characters?

  • Who was the text written for? When was it published?


  • Learn how to spell key words.

  • Know how intended audience would have responded to characters language, themes and ideas.

Things you must do and know:

In particular

  • Including today, we have will be for writing an essay on it.nine lessons left  not including exam week.

  • It is currently the end of week three. Exams are in week six.

  • This is the extended text exam.

  • You can pass. With flying colours.

    Achievement with Merit/Excellence = analyse specified aspects of written text(s) convincingly.

    Convincingly = the person reading your essay believes that you are very familiar with the text and topic you are discussing.

  • Do not make sweeping generalisations.

  • Use appropriate vocabulary.

  • Use varied sentence structure.

  • Use persuasive, authoritative language.

  • Longer essays usually get higher marks.

  • Link between aspects of text.

In particular:


  • Plot will be for writing an essay on it.

  • Sub-plot

  • Quotations

  • Conflict (physical/internal/social)

  • Relationships

  • Significance

  • Character

  • Characterisation

  • Narrative point of view

  • Novel structure

  • Effect

  • Evidence

  • Convincingly


Predatory nature of human existence

  • Nearly all characters admit they feel lonely and isolated. will be for writing an essay on it.

  • Each wants a friend, but will settle for a stranger who listens.

  • Isolation makes the characters weak.

  • However, even when characters are weak they desire to hurt those who are even weaker than they.

  • Oppression does not only come from the hands of the strong and powerful. It also comes from those who are weak.

  • The novel suggests the most obvious form of strength –oppression- is born of weakness.

  • Hence why some of you might pity Curley, even though he never tells anyone in the book that he is lonely.

Predatory nature of human existence

Fraternity and the idealised male friendship

  • fra·ter·ni·ty will be for writing an essay on it.

  •    [fruh-tur-ni-tee]  Show IPA

  • –noun, plural -ties.1.a local or national organization of male students, primarily for social purposes, usually with secret initiation and rites and a name composed of two or three Greek letters.

  • 2.a group of persons associated by or as if by ties of brotherhood.

  • 3.any group or class of persons having common purposes, interests, etc.: the Medical fraternity.

Fraternity and the Idealised male friendship

Fraternity and the idealised male friendship cont

  • George and Lennie’s friendship has a strong effect on us because with Lennie’s death the men lost a dream that was bigger than themselves. Their dream had grown out of control. It was idealised:

  • i·de·al·ize

  •    [ahy-dee-uh-lahyz]  Show IPAverb, -ized, -iz·ing.

  • –verb (used with object) make ideal;  represent in an ideal  form or character; exalt to an ideal  perfection or excellence.

Fraternity and the idealised male friendship cont.

Themes and small stuff explained

  • Migrant men like the men in “Of Mice and Men” had a hard life. The farm dream took in everyone who heard it.

    “Given the harsh, lonely conditions under which these men live, it should come as no surprise that they idealise friendships between men in such a way.”

  • The world is too harsh and predatory a place to sustain such relationships (for example Candy’s dog).

  • Lennie and George come closest to achieving this ideal “fraternity” but are forced to separate tragically.

  • Curley and Carlson cannot understand George’s grief. They represent “the world” not acknowledging or appreciating this ideal dream of man uniting in a brotherhood… a perfect world.