My exam board is WJEC but any rough idea on what mark I would get would be very appreciated. This is one of my weaker essays so any suggestions on how It could be improved will also be appreciated. It is out of 20 marks. Thank you.
John Steinbeck portrays the idea of power, or the lack of it throughout the novella through the characters within the microcosm. Many characters within the novella represent a type of discrimination during this time. Steinbeck uses these characters within the microcosm to demonstrate their status within society for people similar to them in the macrocosm of 1930's America.
Most characters face the theme of power and often abuse it in some way within the novella.
The boss's power remains constant.
'Where the hell's them new men?'
Even though the boss is a minor character he has authority over everyone on the ranch and is therefore the most powerful. As his generic name suggests, the boss represents all bosses in 1930's America. He can control everyone's success in their dreams as he can hire and sack them. This highlights how unreliable and hard to find work was during the depression as well as hints at the idea of the American Dream. This is because the boss has already achieved the American Dream and makes him even more powerful. Even the boss abuses his power over a weaker worker on the ranch.
'He gave the stable buck hell too'.
This emphasises the harsh racism during 1930's America as well as the acceptance of violence for those weaker than themselves.
Curley has a reasonably high amount of power due to the fact that his father is the boss therefore he won't get sacked.
'Like the boss, he wore high-heeled boots'.
This suggests that his status within society is clear in his appearance and he is seen as intimidating by other characters. However, unlike Slim he lacks in natural authority and respect off the workers which angers him further because he will never have this. Curley also abuses his power when he is first introduced to George and Lennie where he makes a statement showing them who is higher up in society as well as the fight with Lennie where he takes advantage of his mental disability.
Another minor character, Carlson, abuses his power by pressuring Candy into his dogs death. Because Carlson has higher authority, what bothers him about the dog is more important than Candy's relationship with his only companion.
The weaker characters on the ranch seemed to abuse the little power they have when they had the opportunity.
Crooks is the most powerless character on the ranch, however he still takes advantage of Lennie.
'S'pose you never heard of George no more'.
The fact that Crooks is aware of his rights and how in realty he hasn't got many makes him more bitter. Crooks gets pleasure out of abusing Lennie. This emphasises the extent of racism and lack of respect black people had in 1930's America. This respect is all taken away from him because of the colour of his skin, he would have had quite a lot of power if he was white because he came from a successful family-emphasising how wealthy people also lost everything during the depression.
Steinbeck uses Curley's wife within the microcosm to demonstrate the lack of power and authority for women in the macrocosm of 1930's America.
'Keep your wife in the house where she belongs.'
Curley's wife has a consistent struggle for power as she only has higher authority over Crooks in the entire ranch.
'I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny.'
While this represents racism of 1930's America it also shows the extent people would go through and the abuse of power during the depression. She is reminding Crooks of his place within society even though she in one of the weaker characters in the novella herself.
Lennie is the most physically powerful character, however due to his mental disability and childlike views he is powerless against his own urge to pet nice things. He doesn't know right from wrong therefore he is incapable to control his strength and because he lacks mental acuity he has to rely on George to protect him from himself. In turn this gains George power as he has control over Lennie however he then turns powerless as he was unable to protect him.
Slim is one of the only characters who does not abuse his power and as a result of this he is the most respected on the ranch. Slim has natural authority unlike Curley which makes him the most powerful character out of the itinerant workers. He gets listened to and is seen as 'royalty', like the prince of the ranch-emphasising how Curley is not, therefore he has say over the death of the dog and Candy has to obey Slim.
In conclusion, Steinbeck demonstrates the fight for power and pride whereas those who lacked in power were helpless and seen as misfits within society. This highlights the hardship of 1930's America and how often this power was abused.
Thank you for reading, any estimated marks or constructive criticism will be appreciated
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WJEC GCSE English literature Of Mice And Men- power essay watch
- Thread Starter
- 14-05-2015 21:04
- Political Ambassador
- 14-05-2015 21:21
you've covered all the important characters well with consistency, not one large chunk for one and one sentence for another is what i mean. you've used quotes through out as evidence and the points are rather well developed. i would give this 18/20, i feel that you can add more to Candy, maybe mention why he's powerless in the society - age, crippled?
- Thread Starter
(Original post by ihatePE;[url="tel:55806057")
- 14-05-2015 21:52
55806057[/url]]you've covered all the important characters well with consistency, not one large chunk for one and one sentence for another is what i mean. you've used quotes through out as evidence and the points are rather well developed. i would give this 18/20, i feel that you can add more to Candy, maybe mention why he's powerless in the society - age, crippled?
- 14-05-2015 22:00
Really good essay. You could mention why Carlson has power over candy. You could also talk about the change in power when Lennie comes into crooks room- initily crooks feels he has power but that quickly reversed as he underestimates lennies strength. I would give it an 18/19 out of 20
- Thread Starter
(Original post by sjstevendale;[url="tel:55807759")
- 14-05-2015 22:08
55807759[/url]]Really good essay. You could mention why Carlson has power over candy. You could also talk about the change in power when Lennie comes into crooks room- initily crooks feels he has power but that quickly reversed as he underestimates lennies strength. I would give it an 18/19 out of 20