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    Could somebody please mark this essay? I'm doing the WJEC GCSE English literature exam next week.

    John Steinbeck presents the character of Slim as very significant and influential. Steinbeck cleverly uses him as a moral compass and also a tool of comparison. Slim is also given a unique judge-like authority, which sets him apart from the other characters. Steinbeck uses Slim to portray justice, whilst at the same time representing what is unjust about attitudes of society in 1930s America.

    Slim is respected by everyone on the ranch and is described as being “god-like”, which suggests that everyone follows Slim’s lead and would therefore justify him being a moral compass. In the first description of Slim, Steinbeck associates him with royalty by using words such as “majesty” and “prince” which portrays him as having a natural authority and also excellent moral conduct. His instinctive authority is spoken about before Steinbeck introduces Slim. Candy says that Slim “don’t need no high heeled boots”, this shows that Slim doesn’t need to show his importance through clothing, it is known by everyone.

    The character of Slim is the only person in the whole novel that actually shows that they are capable of empathising with someone and understanding the other characters. Slim understood what Candy was feeling towards his dog, and the companionship they shared. However, Slim’s opinions are seen as law and he knew what was right for both the dog and Candy. Slim also understood the relationship between George and Lennie, and how it gave them comfort and companionship, this is something that none of the other characters could understand.

    Throughout the novel, Steinbeck shows that Slim is decisive and can ensure that justice is served. After the fight between Curley and Lennie, Slim makes sure that Lennie is protected but he also helped Curley by getting him the medical attention he needed. This shows that Slim is fair and his actions and words are always justified.

    Although Steinbeck presents Slim as knowledgeable and someone who gives advice, he is never portrayed as domineering. Slim knows how ranch workers think, this is evident in his conversation with George as he keeps a “friendly” tone and doesn’t persist. Slim doesn’t insist that George confides in him nor does he interrogate George, Slim just sits back “quiet” and “receptive” because he knows that ranch workers grow suspicious when they’re pressured. Slim is wise and clearly has had a lot of experience with ranch workers.

    Slim’s appearances throughout the novel are well placed by Steinbeck. Slim appears in the most crucial and controversial scenes: the shooting of the dog, the fight, discovering Curley’s wife and after Lennie is shot. In each case, there is either a threat of violence or actual violence. Each time Slim helps make the assessment to do what is merciful or what is right. It is Slim, in the end, who suggests that George did the right thing killing Lennie. These situations and the way in which Slim reacts to them help to show that Slim is experienced and perceptive.

    Steinbeck uses the character of Slim to highlight the weaknesses of others by showing that Slim is an unchanging power that others are measured against. Steinbeck also shows that Slim is capable of interactions that the other characters lack, which is why he is seen as such a special and magnificent character. His basic manners emphasise the weakened society of broken communication, but he is able to give hope to the reader all the same.

    From what I know about the mark scheme, this would get around a top A, 17 marks. To get A* you need to use more quotes and expand on your points, with more reference to social historical context. Good luck for the exam!
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Updated: May 18, 2018

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