emilialucy
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
#1
Just wrote an essay on the theme of ''Dreams'', please could you give a rough mark out of 20? Btw this is for English literature WJEC B, you're given 40 minutes to write an essay.


Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is set in America during the years of the Great Depression. The Wall Street Crash left people without a job or a house. People had barely enough money to afford necessities such as food, water and clothes. The pressures of the Great Depression led to many people forming dreams; a way of trying to escape the harsh society. In Of Mice and Men, the hopes and dreams of the men on the ranch are a continuous focus and theme throughout the novel. John Steinbeck portrays the effects that dreams, or lack of them, have on the lives of the characters and the outcome of the novel. Steinbeck uses the concept of dreams at once to show hope and aspiration, as they invoke companionship with united determination for a better future, and to illustrate the difficulties of survival, with unrealized dreams illuminating the dark despair of society at that time.
Steinbeck embeds a major underlying hint to the theme of dreams for the reader through the title. The title is derived from a poem called "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns. It comes from the line that says: "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, gang aft agley." Which means that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. This foreshadows what is going to occur as it suggests you can have a great dream that you continuously plan how to get and work towards, but things always have a way of falling apart and sometimes turning tragic; dreams of men are no more secure than those of mice.

Steinbeck presents dreams as a tool to aid the itinerant farm worker’s survival and happiness; the idea of dreams prolonging survival and happiness is best portrayed by the dreams and relationship shared by Lennie and George. Right from the start of the novella its evident that George and Lennie have a dream of “live off the fatta the lan”. It’s evident that they need each other’s companionship to alleviate isolation and loneliness, and to make their dream seem more realistic. Lennie describes their relationship as such “We got each other”. They need each other and their dreams to survive, therefore in this instance Steinbeck does not portray dreams as futile as dreams are at the backbone of George and Lennie.

Although Lennie and George share the same dream, it’s evident that they seek different objectives from it. George wants to own his own land, and work independently, “we’re gonna have a little house” and “a couple of acres”, whereas Lennie wants to “tend rabbits” and have “different color rabbits”. By doing this, Steinbeck emphasizes the fact that although everyone’s dreams were similar, they meant different things to different people. The fact that Lennie wants “different color rabbits” highlights to the reader how unrealistic the dream is, and furthermore suggests that the dream is solely present to give the workers hope.

Ironically, the dream becomes even more realizable when Candy asks to be part of it with them. He offers his stake; “Tha’s three hundred an’ fifty bucks I’d put in.” With more money and another person’s determination, there is new hope for the dream to become reality, perhaps even in the near future. Steinbeck uses this situation to convey that dreams are strengthened by companionship, and companionship is strengthened by a shared dream.

However, just after the dream seems within reach, it is evident that it will never occur. Lennie crush’s Curley’s hand out of terror, “Curley sat… looking in wonder at his crushed hand”. This scene is significant as it shows the reader that dreams often get physically crushed, this is furthermore emphasized by the fact the scene of crushing dreams through violence occurs straight after a scene of hope for the dream; the scenes being so contrasting to one another highlight the pure brutality of dreams. This scene is also significant as Curleys dream of being a boxer has also been physically crushed. Curley is described by Candy as “He done quite a bit in the ring”. This foreshadows events to occur and suggests this similar to Curley’s, George, Lennie and Candy’s dream will be physically crushed.

Like many of the characters in the novel, Curley’s Wife also has a dream. Her dream is to be “in the movies.” Many women during the 1930’s had a similar dream similar to this as film became the biggest form of mass entertainment, film stars began to become more well-known, such as Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Curley’s Wife dream never panned out; “my ol’lady wouldn’ let me”. Curley’s Wife broken dream has left her bitter, she blames her mother for her failures, yet as she speaks in a “nasal , brittle voice”, it suggests to the reader that is was due to her own weaknesses. As a whole this foreshadows later events in the novel and portrays that even in Steinbeck’s cruel world it is made clear dreams are only dreams and the shatter of hope is clearly inevitable even for a delicate person such as Curley’s Wife

Throughout Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses light and darkness to illustrate a powerful image; the spectrum of hope and dreams, despair and hopelessness. In the bunkhouse, the ‘small square windows’ symbolize that there is little light let into the bunkhouse, and little hope for the men who live there. Also, ‘the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows’, this represents that the little hope in the bunk house only helps to further illuminate the darkness and harshness of society. In a setting, such as the ranch, where dreams are suppressed and suffocated, they take on a greater importance and significance to the men’s lives, they rely on the dreams to get by.

Steinbeck portrays the fragility of dreams in the harsh society through Crooks. There are so many aspects that can contribute as to why the characters dreams are not realized, they are restricted by power of the people, prejudice against race, age, sex, mental or physical disability, and by social mentality. Steinbeck illustrates these things though Crooks. ‘The stable bucks a ******’ and because of this Crooks has less hope than the other men. In his room he has a ‘small electric globe’, symbolizing fake hope. Because of lack of a dream, or a broken dream in the past, Crooks has a cynical and skeptical view towards the aspirations of others, leaving him isolated and alone. When Lennie tells him about his dream, Crooks responds ‘You’re nuts..nobody ever gets no land’. He believes that there is no possibility of the American Dream being achieved, because everybody desires it, but it is seldom achieved.

The structure is also of a great significance to dreams within Of Mice and Men. Of Mice and Men follows a cyclical structure; the chapters start and end in the same place. Of Mice and Men also starts and ends in the same location “an’ hide in the brush”. The fact the novella follows a cyclical structure suggests to the reader that there was never any hope of achieving the American dream; the cycle of events are continuous and never ending in which all the characters and trapped. This denotes that the characters individual dreams will never be made as the dreams also follow a cycle, a cycle that will be never ending but fundamentally, will never get anywhere.

In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck does not portray dreams as being completely futile. Using characters such as Lennie, George and Candy, he shows that dreams do not guarantee a better outcome to their lives, but they do help them to live their lives with purpose, determination and companionship. The way Steinbeck portrays Crooks and Curley’s Wife explicates that whilst it is important to remember that dreams are often fragile and in-accomplishable, a lack of a dream and too much cynicism will attribute to a life of darkness, loneliness and isolation. Steinbeck’s key point is that dreams are worth having, but are unlikely to come to fruition. What’s importation is the aspiration of dreams, not the realization. In a wider aspect, this suggests that the purpose of the American Dream to society in the 1930s was to solely give farmers hope.
0
reply
paddlesnap
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#2
Report 7 years ago
#2
I did this paper. That's a very good essay, and I don't see why it wouldn't get at least an A. However, are you going to be able to write all that in 40 minutes?
0
reply
emilialucy
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
#3
(Original post by paddlesnap)
I did this paper. That's a very good essay, and I don't see why it wouldn't get at least an A. However, are you going to be able to write all that in 40 minutes?
I write very fast :P, I'm counting on the question for the theme to be on dreams, violence or death as those haven't come up. So I'm writing an essay on each and learning of by heart.
0
reply
Caitlan
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#4
Report 7 years ago
#4
Brilliant introduction and well structured essay.

However, I feel inclined to give it only a high A as you didn't quite expand on your quotes enough. It's one thing to embed quotes seemlessly but without proper justification of why the quotes are relevant, you miss out on easy marks..

Furthermore, try to sneak in one or two quotes which could convey two seperate notions. This way you show the examiner that you have deeply analysed the quote and haven't simply just used the first thought that came to your mind.

Good luck for the exam. With the sophisticated discourse and clear understanding that you show, I see no reason why you couldn't walk out of that exam with an A*!
1
reply
emilialucy
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
#5
(Original post by Caitlan)
Brilliant introduction and well structured essay.

However, I feel inclined to give it only a high A as you didn't quite expand on your quotes enough. It's one thing to embed quotes seemlessly but without proper justification of why the quotes are relevant, you miss out on easy marks..

Furthermore, try to sneak in one or two quotes which could convey two seperate notions. This way you show the examiner that you have deeply analysed the quote and haven't simply just used the first thought that came to your mind.

Good luck for the exam. With the sophisticated discourse and clear understanding that you show, I see no reason why you couldn't walk out of that exam with an A*!
Thank you I'm really hopeing dreams or loneliness comes up !
0
reply
Caitlan
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#6
Report 7 years ago
#6
American dream would be a brilliant topic... But once you get in the exam hall, I assure you that you will be able to right about anything.

We ended up doing 'every character is a victim. do you agree?' or something like that and despite not even considering that theme before, I wrote a hell of a lot
0
reply
emilialucy
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
#7
(Original post by Caitlan)
American dream would be a brilliant topic... But once you get in the exam hall, I assure you that you will be able to right about anything.

We ended up doing 'every character is a victim. do you agree?' or something like that and despite not even considering that theme before, I wrote a hell of a lot
What mark did you get in it?

I got 35/40 in my coursework (Shakespeare), so I'd need A* in both unit 1 and 2 to get A* overall. I'm hopeing I can get 18/20 in the essay, 8/10 in the extract and 16/20 in the poetry which would be 42, and hopefully an A*. But If not I'd be perfectly happy with an A
0
reply
imo345
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#8
Report 7 years ago
#8
I'd personally say this is probably twice the length of something you'll want to be writing in 45 mins- realistically with 5 mins planning. It's really good though!
0
reply
emilialucy
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
#9
(Original post by imo345)
I'd personally say this is probably twice the length of something you'll want to be writing in 45 mins- realistically with 5 mins planning. It's really good though!
What parts would you suggest I cut out?

Also, what kind of grade would you give it out of 20?

Thank you!
0
reply
imo345
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#10
Report 7 years ago
#10
Probably quite a lot of the first paragraph - but the bit about the Robert Burns poem is a good point to make!
Like this bit 'In Of Mice and Men, the hopes and dreams of the men on the ranch are a continuous focus and theme throughout the novel. John Steinbeck portrays the effects that dreams, or lack of them, have on the lives of the characters and the outcome of the novel. Steinbeck uses the concept of dreams at once to show hope and aspiration, as they invoke companionship with united determination for a better future, and to illustrate the difficulties of survival, with unrealized dreams illuminating the dark despair of society at that time.'
^It's a good point - but you don't really have time to make it because you
don't get many marks for the intro so I'd add this in in smaller chunks in you PEE's which you want to being doing 3/4 realistically.
0
reply
Caitlan
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#11
Report 7 years ago
#11
(Original post by emilialucy)
What mark did you get in it?

I got 35/40 in my coursework (Shakespeare), so I'd need A* in both unit 1 and 2 to get A* overall. I'm hopeing I can get 18/20 in the essay, 8/10 in the extract and 16/20 in the poetry which would be 42, and hopefully an A*. But If not I'd be perfectly happy with an A
It said 65 (A*) on my results sheet
0
reply
123..help me
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#12
Report 7 years ago
#12
Your essay is amazing...it looks at many different aspects of ranch men's life in the novel and you have used ver good terminology and your answer is very well structured...I am sure you would definitely get an A for this essay. I know you said you will learn the essays with those specific topics by heart but make sure you do look at other themes as you never know the exam could come on some unexpected topic or theme...GOOD LUCK!!=D
0
reply
AdamAziz
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#13
Report 4 years ago
#13
This is an firm example of a A/B grade. However, it doesn't seem you've finished all this in 40 mins. If you can then thats amazing. I belive you'll get 15/16 out of 20 as you could vary sentence starters and sentences. Also you could look more into AO4.
0
reply
jaebum
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
(Original post by 04MR17)
I'll do it tomorrow - thoroughly! jaebum here's yours done. The PM won't let me attach.
thank you for taking the time to view it thoroughly u saved my life
0
reply
04MR17
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#15
Report 4 years ago
#15
Done emilialucy
Attached files
0
reply
jaebum
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#16
Report 4 years ago
#16
(Original post by 04MR17)
I'll do it tomorrow - thoroughly! jaebum here's yours done. The PM won't let me attach.
could u delete the the link please
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

New lockdown - Do you agree schools and universities should remain open?

Yes (50)
37.31%
No (70)
52.24%
I don't know (14)
10.45%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise