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IGCSE English Literature - Of Mice and Men & An Inspector Calls Key Themes watch

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    Hi Guys, just wondering if anyone has any notes on the key themes in Of Mice and Men and An Inspector Calls because I'm really struggling in getting to grips with each text and am very stressed out! Thanks!
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    Go onto sparknotes and read their sections about the two books - it's really helpful
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    hey

    starting point:

    OMAM:
    -loneliness
    -Isolation
    -The futility of dreams
    -Social Hierarchy
    -Inequality

    AIC:
    -Capitalism vs Socialism
    -Gender inequalities
    -Dramatic irony
    -hierarchy, class etc

    hope this gets you started

    (Original post by needsigcsehelp)
    Hi Guys, just wondering if anyone has any notes on the key themes in Of Mice and Men and An Inspector Calls because I'm really struggling in getting to grips with each text and am very stressed out! Thanks!
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    I did both of these about two years ago now but from what I remember:

    Inspector Calls
    -Class divides: Eva is meant to represent the whole of the working class, who were oppressed by people like the Birlings. The Inspector is Priestley's medium to try and get the audience to reconsider their assumptions about society. The Inspectors speech about 'fire, blood and anguish' is very good for this but besides that there are subtle hints like he doesn't play 'golf' which is a single player/'posh' sport.
    -Responsibility: Similarly to the first one, Priestly wants everyone to take responsibility for others.
    -Generational gap: notice how different Sheila and Eric's reactions are to the whole thing when you compare them to Mr and Mrs Birling.
    -Gender stereotypes: pretty self explanatory if you look at the way Sheila is pushed around by her father and Gerald.

    The context of the play is very important; it is set before WW1 but was written after, with hindsight. The war forced everyone to pull together and Priestly is trying to warn the audience against going back to an Edwardian type society. Notice also how Mr Birling denies the possibility of war at the start of the play, this makes him look stupid and automatically you have to question his judgement. Everything you analyse about the play can be bought back to when/where it was set whether it be social class or gender stereotypes or whatever.

    Of Mice and Men (aka the bane of my existence)
    -Gender: Curley's wife is treating appallingly throughout. She's the only woman on the ranch and she's clearly very lonely.
    -Race: Look at how Crooks is treated and segregated from the rest of the workers.
    -Dreams: Lenny and George's dream is repeated throughout but during the Great Depression it could never really be a reality.
    -Transience: Nothing ever stays the same on the ranch and nothing is permanent. The men don't even remember the names of the people they used to work with. (See the Bill Tanner incident where they read his letter in a magazine).
    -Death is always foreshadowed. What Lenny kills progressively gets bigger/more important.
    -There are loads of symbols and motifs in the play. Look especially at how Steinbeck writes about light. The opening scene, even before any characters are introduced, is full of imagery too.

    In terms of context, the Great Depression is important, as is the 'Dustbowl' which was a sandstorm in the 1930s which completely destroyed the agricultural industry.

    That was all from memory but I hope it helps. If you want more detail then I could try to dig my notes out. Other than that, go on BBC Bitesize or Sparknotes.
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    (Original post by georgiaTK)
    I did both of these about two years ago now but from what I remember:

    Inspector Calls
    -Class divides: Eva is meant to represent the whole of the working class, who were oppressed by people like the Birlings. The Inspector is Priestley's medium to try and get the audience to reconsider their assumptions about society. The Inspectors speech about 'fire, blood and anguish' is very good for this but besides that there are subtle hints like he doesn't play 'golf' which is a single player/'posh' sport.
    -Responsibility: Similarly to the first one, Priestly wants everyone to take responsibility for others.
    -Generational gap: notice how different Sheila and Eric's reactions are to the whole thing when you compare them to Mr and Mrs Birling.
    -Gender stereotypes: pretty self explanatory if you look at the way Sheila is pushed around by her father and Gerald.

    The context of the play is very important; it is set before WW1 but was written after, with hindsight. The war forced everyone to pull together and Priestly is trying to warn the audience against going back to an Edwardian type society. Notice also how Mr Birling denies the possibility of war at the start of the play, this makes him look stupid and automatically you have to question his judgement. Everything you analyse about the play can be bought back to when/where it was set whether it be social class or gender stereotypes or whatever.

    Of Mice and Men (aka the bane of my existence)
    -Gender: Curley's wife is treating appallingly throughout. She's the only woman on the ranch and she's clearly very lonely.
    -Race: Look at how Crooks is treated and segregated from the rest of the workers.
    -Dreams: Lenny and George's dream is repeated throughout but during the Great Depression it could never really be a reality.
    -Transience: Nothing ever stays the same on the ranch and nothing is permanent. The men don't even remember the names of the people they used to work with. (See the Bill Tanner incident where they read his letter in a magazine).
    -Death is always foreshadowed. What Lenny kills progressively gets bigger/more important.
    -There are loads of symbols and motifs in the play. Look especially at how Steinbeck writes about light. The opening scene, even before any characters are introduced, is full of imagery too.

    In terms of context, the Great Depression is important, as is the 'Dustbowl' which was a sandstorm in the 1930s which completely destroyed the agricultural industry.

    That was all from memory but I hope it helps. If you want more detail then I could try to dig my notes out. Other than that, go on BBC Bitesize or Sparknotes.
    I'm afraid the ones you have listed under Of Mice and Men are not themes. Themes would be things such as the futility of the American dream and effect of loneliness on the mental aptitude of the ranch workers. What you've listed are things that contribute to and fuel these main themes.
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    AN INSPECTOR CALLS

    Act 1 Themes & Quotes
    Age : During act one, we see that the older people - such as Mr & Mrs Birling hold more authority in the house than Eric and Sheila who are the youngest in the family.
    Gender : Sheila is told that she cannot understand since she is female and she is being treated like a lower class citizen compared to the others since she is female.
    Social Class : When gender seems to make the females appear as a lower class, we see Mrs Birling having the most authority in the house because of her social class.
    Responsibility : The family are very capitalist and not involved in the war. The marriage between Sheila and Gerald is based on social statues and business since we see no evidence of them mentioning their love for each other.

    "The Germans don't want war... Everything to lose and nothing to gain by war" - Significance - Birling's capitalist view and naive views on war
    "But these girls aren't cheap labor - they're people" - Significance - Shelia's response to her father sacking Eva Smith
    "It's my duty to ask questions" - Significance - Inspector Goole in response to Birling's arrogant stance when questioned about his reasons for not giving a pay - rise to his employees.

    Act 2 Themes & Quotes
    Age : Older people still have higher authority, yet we begin to see it fade when we see their stubbornness and also see Sheila taking a lot of responsibility.
    Gender: Eva's gender was what allowed her to have a relationship with Gerald and have the baby which was what caused her encounter with Mrs Birling.
    Social Class : Gerald met Eva Smith in a bar, and wouldn't have been able to keep a woman of a lower class since it wouldn't have been accepted by society - therefore ending the relationship
    Responsibility : Mrs Birling throws the responsibility to Eric by naming and shaming him before she realized that Eric was involved. Gerald also accepts some responsibility for Eva's death.

    "You mustn't try to build up a kind of wall between us and that girl" - significance - Shelia to her Mother's defensive and non - compliant attitude towards the inspector about Eva Smith
    "Nothing but morbid curiosity" - significance - Mrs Briling accuses Sheila of staying around simply to satisfy her curiosity.
    "Why should you do any protesting? It was you who turned the girl out" - significance - Inspector Goole (Sharply) to Birling.

    Act 3 Themes & Quotes
    Age : Eric is the youngest and still treated differently
    Gender: Sheila is most accepting of her role in Eva's suicide, yet is in less power because of her gender.
    Social Class : Mrs Birling only cares about the way others will view the family
    Responsibility : Willing to revert back with the exploration of Shelia and Eric as they understand what they did wrong.

    "I wasn't in love with her or anything, but i liked her" - significance - Eric talking about Eva

    Hope this helps
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    (Original post by TheBlackHookage)
    I'm afraid the ones you have listed under Of Mice and Men are not themes. Themes would be things such as the futility of the American dream and effect of loneliness on the mental aptitude of the ranch workers. What you've listed are things that contribute to and fuel these main themes.
    I see what you mean and If that's the case then I'm sorry but I'm just going by how I was taught at GCSE. I just think breaking it down like that helps to understand the texts more or 'get to grips with it' as the thread starter said. Learning it like that certainly didn't do me any harm.
 
 
 
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