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GCSE Of Mice and Men practice essay-please mark

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    Hey everyone,
    I have an Of Mice and Men GCSE exam this Friday and I've written a practice essay. I'll be grateful if you could take look at it, give it a grade (or a mark out of 40) and tell me how to improve it to get the top grades. Thanks

    Question: How does Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in Of Mice and Men?

    Essay:
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    In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck shows the reader that loneliness is something which none of the characters can escape from. Although the characters try to find companionship, Steinbeck makes it clear to the reader that looking for companionship can be a dangerous thing to do. The loneliness that the characters experience is typical of the loneliness of many ranch workers in 1930s America.

    Steinbeck uses symbolism as a way to present the theme of loneliness. Many times in the novel, George is described as playing "solitaire." Solitaire is a game which is only played by one person. The fact that solitaire is a one player game shows the reader that the people on the ranch are all on their own and have no companions, showing the reader that they are lonely. In addition to this, Steinbeck calls the nearby town "Soledad." Soledad is a real town in America, but it means "loneliness" or "solitude" in Spanish. Steinbeck names the town "Soledad" to emphasise the point that the characters are lonely.

    Steinbeck also shows the reader that the characters are desperate to find a way out of their loneliness. In Section Three of the novel, Whir is keen to talk to George and Steinbeck tells us that Whit is "not interested in his cards." Whit is not interested in playing cards not long after the game has begun. This shows the reader that all Whit wants is someone to talk to talk to so, in this way, he wants to find a way out of his loneliness. This makes the reader sympathise with the characters on the ranch as it shows their desperation to stop being lonely.

    Although the characters want companionship, Steinbeck hints to the reader that it is not safe to try and find a way out of their loneliness. For example, in Section Three, George says that his friend Andy Cushman is in "San Quentin," a prison, "on account of a tart." It is clear to the reader that Andy was looking for companionship. However, Steinbeck is showing the reader that looking for companionship was dangerous for Andy-it just led him into prison. This also shows the reader that the characters on the ranch have no way out of their loneliness-any attempt will just lead them into danger.

    Steinbeck shows the reader that Crooks is lonely on the ranch because of the prejudice he receives for being black, something which was not uncommon in 1930s America. When Candy comes into Crooks's room, Crooks tries "to conceal his pleasure with his anger." This shows the reader that Crooks is lonely, but is trying to pretend that this doesn't bother him. It is unusual for Steinbeck to describe the feelings of the characters, usually we have to make a guess from what the characters are saying. However, Steinbeck is describing Crooks's feelings here to make it clear to the reader that prejudice and loneliness have made Crooks bitter. Although Crooks wants to escape from his loneliness, Steinbeck makes it clear to the reader that he can't. Steinbeck often says in Section Four, "the halter chains rattled." The "chains" could be a metaphor for locking up Crooks in his loneliness, and the fact that they rattle show the reader that Crooks is desperately trying, but failing, to escape his loneliness. This makes the reader feel sorry for Crooks.

    In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck presents loneliness as a key theme which many of the characters cannot escape from. Although the characters, like many ranch workers from America in the 1930s, want to escape fro their loneliness, Steinbeck shows the reader that this just leads them to having their dreams brutally crushed.


    Thanks

    Also, I wanted to add a few more points but I didn't have the time to do so (I wrote the essay under timed conditions). Does anyone have any tips on how to manage my time more effectively? I can write quickly, but I sometimes pause for a bit to think about what I should write.
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    Any suggestions?
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    Did you handwrite under the timed conditions? Or do you have access to be able to type it up?
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    Try to pick out more imaginative ways of illustrating loneliness as almost all students use it now, and thus it doesn't contribute to the 'imaginative interpretation' examiners want to see. That's what my teacher told me, as I did this exam in the summer.
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    (Original post by PrinceUpsb)
    Did you handwrite under the timed conditions? Or do you have access to be able to type it up?
    It wasn't typed and no, I won't have access to be able to type it up It was done in timed conditions.

    (Original post by Sapien)
    Try to pick out more imaginative ways of illustrating loneliness as almost all students use it now, and thus it doesn't contribute to the 'imaginative interpretation' examiners want to see. That's what my teacher told me, as I did this exam in the summer.
    Thanks What do you mean by "imaginative?"
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    (Original post by matty123)
    B.
    Thanks How could I improve it to get an A/A*?
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    Any more suggestions? I'm sorry for really pushing this thread but I am quite stressed about this exam. I really want to score an A so any advice would be really helpful

    Thanks
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    dont worry all you get to do is back up whatever you said with evidence and your opinion of the situation, i did this and got an A, also make sure you you have a plan template, it saves time plus you know what your doing
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    (Original post by Darkbling)
    dont worry all you get to do is back up whatever you said with evidence and your opinion of the situation, i did this and got an A, also make sure you you have a plan template, it saves time plus you know what your doing
    Thank you Well done on your A
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    Tbh I wouldn't have gone with the loneliness angle. If I remember, I went with the frustration of not getting anywhere in life and drifting from job to job until they finally get a glimpse of hope.
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    I would give it an A. You write really well for GCSE standard, however you also mentioned that you pause a bit while writing. Is this because you don't know WHAT to write, and are running out of ideas, or is it you are struggling to think of HOW to write, as in how to express your ideas? If it is the latter, might I suggest sacrificing an otherwise well-written sentence in favour of writing more speedily. It is important to be concise of course, and a good writing style like yours immediately communicates to the examiner that you are an intelligent person, but they value content more than writing in a mature, pleasing manner.

    Content wise I thought it was great except you left out the loneliest character in the book - Curly's wife. Her visit to Crooks' room at the end of chapter 4 and her interactions with Lenny afterwards show this. You definitely could have mentioned Curley's wife. In fact I would always keep this character in mind if you are writing a thematic essay like this one, as she is crucial to most of the themes in the book.
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    (Original post by usycool1)
    Hey everyone,
    I have an Of Mice and Men GCSE exam this Friday and I've written a practice essay. I'll be grateful if you could take look at it, give it a grade (or a mark out of 40) and tell me how to improve it to get the top grades. Thanks

    Question: How does Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in Of Mice and Men?

    Essay:
    Spoiler:
    Show

    In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck shows the reader that loneliness is something which none of the characters can escape from. Although the characters try to find companionship, Steinbeck makes it clear to the reader that looking for companionship can be a dangerous thing to do. The loneliness that the characters experience is typical of the loneliness of many ranch workers in 1930s America.

    Steinbeck uses symbolism as a way to present the theme of loneliness. Many times in the novel, George is described as playing "solitaire." Solitaire is a game which is only played by one person. The fact that solitaire is a one player game shows the reader that the people on the ranch are all on their own and have no companions, showing the reader that they are lonely. In addition to this, Steinbeck calls the nearby town "Soledad." Soledad is a real town in America, but it means "loneliness" or "solitude" in Spanish. Steinbeck names the town "Soledad" to emphasise the point that the characters are lonely.

    Steinbeck also shows the reader that the characters are desperate to find a way out of their loneliness. In Section Three of the novel, Whir is keen to talk to George and Steinbeck tells us that Whit is "not interested in his cards." Whit is not interested in playing cards not long after the game has begun. This shows the reader that all Whit wants is someone to talk to talk to so, in this way, he wants to find a way out of his loneliness. This makes the reader sympathise with the characters on the ranch as it shows their desperation to stop being lonely.

    Although the characters want companionship, Steinbeck hints to the reader that it is not safe to try and find a way out of their loneliness. For example, in Section Three, George says that his friend Andy Cushman is in "San Quentin," a prison, "on account of a tart." It is clear to the reader that Andy was looking for companionship. However, Steinbeck is showing the reader that looking for companionship was dangerous for Andy-it just led him into prison. This also shows the reader that the characters on the ranch have no way out of their loneliness-any attempt will just lead them into danger.

    Steinbeck shows the reader that Crooks is lonely on the ranch because of the prejudice he receives for being black, something which was not uncommon in 1930s America. When Candy comes into Crooks's room, Crooks tries "to conceal his pleasure with his anger." This shows the reader that Crooks is lonely, but is trying to pretend that this doesn't bother him. It is unusual for Steinbeck to describe the feelings of the characters, usually we have to make a guess from what the characters are saying. However, Steinbeck is describing Crooks's feelings here to make it clear to the reader that prejudice and loneliness have made Crooks bitter. Although Crooks wants to escape from his loneliness, Steinbeck makes it clear to the reader that he can't. Steinbeck often says in Section Four, "the halter chains rattled." The "chains" could be a metaphor for locking up Crooks in his loneliness, and the fact that they rattle show the reader that Crooks is desperately trying, but failing, to escape his loneliness. This makes the reader feel sorry for Crooks.

    In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck presents loneliness as a key theme which many of the characters cannot escape from. Although the characters, like many ranch workers from America in the 1930s, want to escape fro their loneliness, Steinbeck shows the reader that this just leads them to having their dreams brutally crushed.


    Thanks

    Also, I wanted to add a few more points but I didn't have the time to do so (I wrote the essay under timed conditions). Does anyone have any tips on how to manage my time more effectively? I can write quickly, but I sometimes pause for a bit to think about what I should write.

    Firstly let me say this is a generally good piece of work so well done but I think you have missed out some really important points. I understand you were working under timed conditions but the relationship between George and Lenny basically epitomises the theme of lonliness in the book as their friendship ends in tragedy, suggesting that ranch works are 'the loneliest guys in the world' however both of them fear lonliness. Also the relationship between Candy and his dog (again ends in tragedy, with the same gun used to kill Lenny) is another example of this and it also suggests that the weak are easily disposed of without remorse or guilt. Another important scene would be Curley's wifes visit to Crooks room when we learn she is the loneliest person on the ranch and nobody sympathises with her despite them all feeling lonely because she is just 'a tart'
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    You could mention that Curley's wife wanted some Lenny meat.
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    Just to extend on my last point on how characters represent themes; this could be another way of speeding up your writing if you are unsure of what to say. Think of what themes each character represents, then if a thematic essay such as this one comes up in the exam you can easily pick out a few characters to write about. But at the same time it's probably not such a great idea to write a character-based essay, which you avoided here as you mentioned Steinbeck's use of language (i.e. Soledad) effectively.

    Listen - you write really well. Don't get caught up on thinking you write too little, or you don't mention enough points. By all means try but don't sacrifice going into detail on the points you do make for the purpose of including everything. Examiners appreciate a detailed, incisive essay far more than one that mentions every possible point that goes into no detail. If it makes you feel better, I always tended to write comparatively little in exams. Some of my essays were barely a page and a half long (though I have small writing), and a lot of my teachers used to comment on how short my exam answers were. But I always got high marks because my content was great. It's better to write a short essay of great perceptiveness than a long one full of waffle and drivel (which you might find most long essay are).
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    Well, there are some good points and bad points about this.

    The good points, are that you have a semi-broad array of content and you go through it logically, each section. That's nice, it's coherent and fluent, however... when you mention about Solitaire (don't assume the reader is a moron, leave the explanation out as it reduces the formality by suggesting the reader is of an un-educated state therefore lowing said formality of language) In addition, you should develop and analyse the symbolism and depth of meaning more.

    For example, you mention about Whit wanting to escape loneliness,

    { don't you think it's ironic that he's on a ranch, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by people he has no particular interest in, in this instance perhaps we could assume, that whit's loneliness is over played and hiding a deeper meaning of jealousy or hatred for some of the members or perhaps the fact that he is jealous of Curly and the women therefore, he spends much of his time alone contemplating what to do etc. }

    Stuff like that will get you extra marks because it's original fresh content that seldom few people at least at GCSE will write about.
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    (Original post by x_Natalie_x)
    I would give it an A. You write really well for GCSE standard, however you also mentioned that you pause a bit while writing. Is this because you don't know WHAT to write, and are running out of ideas, or is it you are struggling to think of HOW to write, as in how to express your ideas? If it is the latter, might I suggest sacrificing an otherwise well-written sentence in favour of writing more speedily. It is important to be concise of course, and a good writing style like yours immediately communicates to the examiner that you are an intelligent person, but they value content more than writing in a mature, pleasing manner.

    Content wise I thought it was great except you left out the loneliest character in the book - Curly's wife. Her visit to Crooks' room at the end of chapter 4 and her interactions with Lenny afterwards show this. You definitely could have mentioned Curley's wife. In fact I would always keep this character in mind if you are writing a thematic essay like this one, as she is crucial to most of the themes in the book.

    (Original post by x_Natalie_x)
    Just to extend on my last point on how characters represent themes; this could be another way of speeding up your writing if you are unsure of what to say. Think of what themes each character represents, then if a thematic essay such as this one comes up in the exam you can easily pick out a few characters to write about. But at the same time it's probably not such a great idea to write a character-based essay, which you avoided here as you mentioned Steinbeck's use of language (i.e. Soledad) effectively.

    Listen - you write really well. Don't get caught up on thinking you write too little, or you don't mention enough points. By all means try but don't sacrifice going into detail on the points you do make for the purpose of including everything. Examiners appreciate a detailed, incisive essay far more than one that mentions every possible point that goes into no detail. If it makes you feel better, I always tended to write comparatively little in exams. Some of my essays were barely a page and a half long (though I have small writing), and a lot of my teachers used to comment on how short my exam answers were. But I always got high marks because my content was great. It's better to write a short essay of great perceptiveness than a long one full of waffle and drivel (which you might find most long essay are).
    Thank you very much It is HOW to write it which I struggle with, but hopefully your points will help me on Friday. Yes, you're 100% right about including Curley's wife. In my plan, I had intended to include her, the fact that the men do to the brothel and the fact that the people don't seem to understand George and Lennie's friendship but I just didn't have enough time
    Thanks for your kind words too, they really have made me a bit more confident



    (Original post by Danatlive)
    Firstly let me say this is a generally good piece of work so well done but I think you have missed out some really important points. I understand you were working under timed conditions but the relationship between George and Lenny basically epitomises the theme of lonliness in the book as their friendship ends in tragedy, suggesting that ranch works are 'the loneliest guys in the world' however both of them fear lonliness. Also the relationship between Candy and his dog (again ends in tragedy, with the same gun used to kill Lenny) is another example of this and it also suggests that the weak are easily disposed of without remorse or guilt. Another important scene would be Curley's wifes visit to Crooks room when we learn she is the loneliest person on the ranch and nobody sympathises with her despite them all feeling lonely because she is just 'a tart'
    Thank you very much



    (Original post by The_master616)
    You could mention that Curley's wife wanted some Lenny meat.
    Thanks As I said to Natalie, I did intend on including the loneliness of Curley's wife but I didn't have the time.



    (Original post by DanielMartin)
    Well, there are some good points and bad points about this.

    The good points, are that you have a semi-broad array of content and you go through it logically, each section. That's nice, it's coherent and fluent, however... when you mention about Solitaire (don't assume the reader is a moron, leave the explanation out as it reduces the formality by suggesting the reader is of an un-educated state therefore lowing said formality of language) In addition, you should develop and analyse the symbolism and depth of meaning more.

    For example, you mention about Whit wanting to escape loneliness,

    { don't you think it's ironic that he's on a ranch, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by people he has no particular interest in, in this instance perhaps we could assume, that whit's loneliness is over played and hiding a deeper meaning of jealousy or hatred for some of the members or perhaps the fact that he is jealous of Curly and the women therefore, he spends much of his time alone contemplating what to do etc. }

    Stuff like that will get you extra marks because it's original fresh content that seldom few people at least at GCSE will write about.
    Thanks a lot

    Thanks to all of you I don't have rep left atm, but I will rep you all when I have some left
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    Damn right you will rep me.
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    What section is Whit in?
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    (Original post by PrinceUpsb)
    What section is Whit in?
    Section Three, I think.

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