Revision Booklet on the Texts
Pg 3 – 20 Of Mice and Men (Unit 1 Section A)
Pg 21 – 29 A Christmas Carol (Unit 2b Section B)
Pg 30 – 40 Blood Brothers (Unit 2b Section A)
Pg 41 – Final Revision Tips
This revision booklet has been designed to help you learn as much about the books you’ve read as possible. You should use it: complete the tasks and do the extensions tasks because that is revision – not just reading a booklet!
Remember what you have been taught and what you have learned. Hard work always pays off.
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck and 1930s America
John Steinbeck was born in 1902. His father was an accountant and his mother was a teacher. Steinbeck had a fairly comfortable upbringing and was born and raised in Salinas, California. He spent his summers working on nearby ranches and later with migrant workers on Spreckels ranch. He became aware of the harsher aspects of migrant life and the darker side of human nature, which supplied him with material expressed in such works as Of Mice and Men. He also explored his surroundings, walking across local forests, fields, and farms.
America experienced some of its harshest times in the 1920s and 30s. Towards the end of the 20s, money was difficult to come by and the cost of living was constantly rising. In 1929, America’s big banks suffered the Wall Street Crash, losing billions of dollars of people’s money. Businesses and families lost everything they had saved. Unemployment was at an all time high, with a third of the population out of work. People living in cities flocked to the countryside to find work on farms and ranches. Those fortunate enough to find work clung on to it with all they had, sometimes earning only a pittance, because a pittance was better than nothing.
Bad farming, combined with severe weather conditions resulted in much of the fertile farming land being destroyed. Those workers, who had already struggled to find work when leaving the city, were forced to uproot again and leave the so-called ‘Dustbowl Plains’ of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in favour of California – the golden state.
The American Dream – the US government, to try and combat the Depression of the 1930s created a ‘New Deal’ for Americans, getting them back into work and telling them that if they worked their hardest, they could achieve the American Dream – owning their own land, being their own bosses and living happy successful lives.
Of Mice and Men was published in 1937.
Complete the tasks on the following page about the context of this book.
1. How did Steinbeck use his personal experiences to help him write the book?
2. Explain three ways Of Mice and Men reflects the time in which it was written.
3. What messages of American life and society did Steinbeck communicate in his book?
There are many settings in the book that have important meanings.
George and Lennie’s Farm:
The farm that George constantly describes to Lennie—those few acres of land on which they will grow their own food and tend their own livestock—is one of the most powerful symbols in the book. It seduces not only the other characters but also the reader, who, like the men, wants to believe in the possibility of the free, idyllic life it promises. Candy is immediately drawn in by the dream, and even the cynical Crooks hopes that Lennie and George will let him live there too.
The River Bank:
The book starts and ends at the same place: a peaceful, idyllic river bank. The location is beautiful: lush, green, fertile, cool, full of wildlife. Lennie and