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Curley S Wife Essay Gcse Bitesize

You will be given a choice of two essay questions about Of Mice and Men in the exam; you need to choose one to answer. They will usually be about specific characters or themes in the text. The examiners are looking for you to demonstrate good knowledge of the whole book. You must have a clear idea about:

  • the plot
  • the themes
  • characters
  • language, form and structure
  • the context

You should be able to use some key quotations from the text, which you have remembered (you will not be allowed a book in the exam). You should structure your answer logically, with a brief introduction and conclusion.

Example question - foundation tier

Choose a character who you think is a victim of loneliness because of the society in which he or she lives. Write about this character, explaining the reasons for your choice.

Planning your answer

Before you start writing your essay, you should spend five to ten minutes planning what you will write. Think about how you can break down your answer into logical paragraphs.

  1. Explain which character you have chosen. Give a brief summary of the reasons why they are lonely and lonelier than other characters on the ranch. For example, Curley’s wife because she is isolated from all of the men on the ranch due to her gender. Even her husband does not treat her with any respect.
  2. Give one main reason for the character you have chosen being so lonely. You will then elaborate on this reason. For example, Curley’s wife is the only woman on the ranch; the men do not view women as their equals. She is never even named, only referred to in terms of her relationship with Curley.
  3. Introduce your next main point, with elaboration. For example, Curley’s wife goes out of her way to get the attention of the men on the ranch but they are dismissive of her and just think of her as .
  4. Add a different main point, with elaboration. For example, Curley’s wife does not enjoy the company of her husband and they seem to have a bad relationship; this means that she has no one to turn to for comfort or affection, or even day-to-day interaction.
  5. Explain your final main point. For example, Curley’s wife can be unpleasant and cruel (such as to Crooks), but really all she is looking for is someone to talk to. She does not treat others with respect because she is never shown any respect herself, mainly as a result of being a woman.
  6. Sum up your ideas about the character and why they are so lonely. For example, Curley’s wife’s tragic death is the final stage of her loneliness; even when she has been killed, Candy blames her for ruining the dream that he shared with George and Lennie. The description of her when she dies shows that it was her life experiences that made her act badly, it wasn’t a natural part of her.

Example question - higher tier

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Planning your answer

Before you start writing your essay, you should spend five to ten minutes planning what you will write. Think about how you can break down your answer into logical paragraphs.

  1. Loneliness affects all of the characters because of the harsh environment in which they live and work. Due to the conditions created by the Great Depression, none of the characters are able to change their lifestyles to form meaningful friendships and many of them lack sympathy for each other because of their own struggles.
  2. George and Lennie’s friendship stands out as being rare and unique in the book. They remind readers that most men like them are alone. The contrast between their relationship and the other characters’ isolation emphasises the importance of having a companion.
  3. The death of Candy’s dog demonstrates how cruel the workers’ lifestyle is. There is no room for sentimentality or affection in the world they live in. Candy’s desperation to join George and Lennie in their dream of owning a farm shows his need for company.
  4. Crooks is isolated on the farm because of his race, making him even lonelier than the other workers, because he does not even experience the basic human interaction that they get from living in the same building.
  5. Curley’s wife’s loneliness is also exacerbated because she is different to the others on the ranch. As the only woman, she is not given respect and does not even have her own identity as she is never named. Her need for attention actually makes the men treat her worse as they think of her as .
  6. The destruction of George and Lennie’s dream at the end of the book reveals the impossibility of escaping from the loneliness caused by the conditions of the world in which the men live.

Writing your answer:

After you have planned your answer, write it up into paragraphs. You should use short quotations which you have remembered from the book to support your ideas. You will also be given marks for paraphrasing parts of the book and referring to specific events, as this shows your knowledge of the text. It is also important that you discuss how the context has impacted on the book throughout your essay, as this is an important part of the mark scheme.

Example question - foundation tier

Choose a character who you think is a victim of loneliness because of the society in which he or she lives. Write about this character, explaining the reasons for your choice.

Sample answer – foundation tier (point two):

Curley’s wife is a lonely character because the men do not like her. She is the only woman on the ranch so she doesn’t have anyone to talk to and so she tries to talk to the men who work on the ranch. She is talked about negatively by the men on the ranch before she is directly involved in the book and then when she appears, there is a description of her wearing red to suggest danger and she is not dressed appropriately for the ranch. She tries to flirt with the men but they don’t like her and aren’t nice to her.

Feedback

  • This is too descriptive. You are being asked to analyse the book in the context of the essay question, not describe what happens so make sure that you don’t just tell the story in your answer, as has been done here.
  • There is no quotation used here to support the point. When possible, use short quotations from the text as evidence to support your ideas.
  • You must link your ideas about the book to the context in which it was written.
  • This response is not answering the question all the way through. It is important to link all of your ideas to the task you have been given.

Sample answer – foundation tier (point two) – improved:

Curley’s wife is shown to be an outsider on the ranch because of her gender, which makes the men respect her less and not treat her as an equal. This is clear in the way that she is never referred to by her own name (which the reader does not find out) but only in relation to Curley, so she seems like she is not important as a person in her own right, just as the wife to the boss’s son. When she first appears in the book, George calls her and Candy has already told George and Lennie that she is . This means that the men on the ranch have no respect for her and so she is very lonely because none of the characters see her as being worth their time.

Feedback

  • This is a secure foundation tier response.
  • There is a clear focus on the question.
  • Awareness is shown of the context of the book.
  • There is sound evidence of knowledge of the text.
  • Short quotations are used appropriately to support the point.

Example question - higher tier

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Sample answer – higher tier (point two):

George and Lennie’s friendship draws attention to how much of a problem loneliness is for the other characters because it is described as being so unusual. They talk about their friendship, saying This shows how important their friendship is to them because other people like them don’t have one. We can see that they care for each other and both need each other to carry on. Even though George finds it difficult to look after Lennie at times, he still wants to have him around and enjoys his friendship.

Feedback

  • This is lacking detail. There needs to be increased discussion of how George and Lennie’s friendship shows that loneliness is
  • While a quotation is used, showing knowledge of the text, this needs to be analysed specifically. The comment on the quotation is too brief and general.
  • There needs to be more references made to the context of the text.
  • Focus on the question is lost in the second part of this paragraph. You must ensure that you are concentrated on the task throughout your response.

Sample answer – higher tier (point two) – improved:

Steinbeck emphasises the loneliness of the lifestyle led by itinerant workers through the uniqueness of George and Lennie’s friendship. Early on in the novel, they state that men like them are This extreme language and use of the superlative demonstrates that there is little hope for such men to escape their isolation. The nature of ranch workers’ insecure employment made it impossible for men like George and Lennie to make lasting connections. George and Lennie contrast the universal experience of their peers – – with their own – This use of the contrasting personal pronouns and draws attention to how different they are and separates George and Lennie from all those around them. However, the tragic end of the novel reveals that even this rare friendship is impossible to maintain in the brutal environment of the ranch. George is left alone, demonstrating that companionship is only temporary in this world.

Feedback

  • This is a confident higher tier response.
  • There is assured discussion of several different parts of the book, showing a secure grasp of the text as a whole.
  • Details are commented on, with analysis shown, so there is evidence of the ability to move between the general and specific when commenting on the text.
  • The context of the novella is discussed and linked to the question.