Great Expectations - Sample Essay

Of mice and men was written in the 1930’s during the great depression where it was hard to find work for most people and itinerant workers moved all over the country to find work. The book was set in America California. In the book the author is trying to show how hard it was in the depression and how people suffered because they couldn’t find work. Great Expectations was written in 1860 and at this time in Kent where the book is set there was a lot of criminality at the time because of convicts and there was a gibbet near by the house of the character involved in the book which is where people who had done wrong were hung. The author was trying to show how someone who lived in a lower class life and could grow up to be a gentleman.

In of mice and men it is wrote in 3rd person this is because we the audience are distanced from the characters because in the opening it first introduces nature into the book then animals and the Steinbeck introduces humans and they disturb the atmosphere; “For a moment the place was lifeless, and then two men emerged from the path and came into the opening by the green pool” They disturb the atmosphere by entering the calm place and leaves the reader wondering what two men dressed the same are doing there. The American dialect in of mice and men, which is slang, shows the historical context from the 1930’s; “There is an ash-pile made up by many fires, the limb is worn smooth by men that have sat on it”.

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This is an idea of nomadic society by people always moving on and they have no permanent base, these people are itinerant workers, which go from one ranch to another. The structure of the novel starts of as nature then it goes on to animals and it finally gets to humans this is because the don’t really belong there because the disturb the lonely tranquil atmosphere; “A few miles south of Soledad the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green” The reference to Soledad is significant as it means loneliness in Spanish and is a major theme in novel. Here the present tense helps us think that we are there, the word ‘green’ makes it look healthy, urban and alive.

When George and Lennie are walking to the ranch they are walking in single file, which shows friendship and a feeling of danger when they arrive and this creates tension; “The hell with the rabbits. That’s all you ever can remember is them rabbits. Ok! Now you listen and this time you got to remember so we don’t get into no trouble” This destroys the tranquil and calm atmosphere and makes it tense as we begin to realise that something has happened between them in the past. The accent and dialect is American slang and this shows the historical context, Uneducated shows where they are from.

Symbolism and imagery plays a big part in the novel as things in the book show deeper meaning. The first part of symbolism that we see is between the Heron and the Water Snake. At the beginning of the book everything is calm and the heron and the water snake don’t bother each other but at the end of the heron eats the water snake;”A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head, and the beak swallowed the little snake while it’s tail waved frantically” This is symbolic because at the beginning of the book it is calm and near the end it is tense because of the death of Lennie and the heron eating the water snake shows this.

The second part of symbolism that we see is how Lennie is always compared to a big animal; “His huge comparison dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.” This is symbolic because he is compared to a big animal and he is always described by his size compared to George’s. Great Expectations is wrote in the first person and the first three paragraphs are directly related to the character that the book is about, the effect that this has is that it gets us closer to the character because it is in first person.

The novel is set in England in Kent. The atmosphere here is dark and gloomy because in this area at the time that it was set there was a lot of criminality; “Raw afternoon” “towards evening” The fact that it is getting darker creates a tense and lonely atmosphere, ‘raw’ creates an impression that it is bleak and cold. As there is a lot of criminality in the area like convicts and the big gibbet it makes the atmosphere tense; “and that distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea.”

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