Of Mice and Men Themes

Themes are another huge part of Of Mice and Men. Throughout the novel many themes are observed, and they all intertwine differently with each individual character. As part of the CCEA course, it is necessary to learn about these themes and there effects on specific characters. Having just completed the course, I know that while theme questions seem harder, they are often easier to gain marks in, and often easier to answer. I have included in this post a simple overview of the themes running throughout the novel. I would advice you to learn all the themes, but to intensely learn two of the themes. CCEA questions on themes often involve characters and how a specific themes effects them.

For example in June 2012, CCEA asked about the theme of dreams. However, they specifically related the question to two characters, Curley’s Wife and Candy. This meant that when a student answered the question they were not to talk about everything they knew about the theme but rather about how the theme effected that specific character. This answer also asks you to use an extract, something which one question of the two possible questions will always contain. It is fundamental to your answer that your spend at least 60% of the answer talking about this extract (pulling quotes etc.). CCEA will not award top band marks if you do not do this.

For CCEA it is also necessary to learn all quotes that will be needed for the Of Mice and Men exam, as it is closed book. This makes the non-extract question harder and makes part of the extract question harder (that part in which you discuss other areas of the book).

“With reference to the ways Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife’s dreams in extract 6 and
elsewhere in the novel and Candy’s dreams elsewhere in the novel, show how far you
agree that these dreams could never come true.”

This is also the question that I had to answer in June 2012.


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