This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It takes place towards the beginning of the novel, when George and Lennie have stopped for the night on the way to a new place of work. George is responsible for most of the dialogue in the passage. Despite the infrequency of his own speech here, certain aspects of Lennie’s character quickly become apparent to the reader. This section also introduces the source of George’s conflicted feelings towards his friend. Read the passage through at least twice before tackling the questions. In answering the questions below, pay close attention to the text while also bearing in mind the wider issues of the novel as a whole.
When answering an extract question in an exam be sure to read the passage through more than once as you consider your response.
The first time you can aim for a broad understanding of the passage and how you might use it to answer the questions. On the second reading you can begin noting details and making annotations. It can be useful to ask yourself why the specific passage has been chosen. How does it relate to the rest of the text? Pay attention to its place in the structure of the text. Are any significant characters or significant themes introduced? What happens afterwards? Does anything in the passage foreshadow later events? What changes? Also consider the ending of the extract: why do you think it ends where it does instead of somewhere else? What is significant about the final line?
Think carefully about what the question asks. You might be asked to write about the mood and atmosphere of the extract, or perhaps a particular character. Sometimes you will be asked to discuss dialogue, behaviour or feelings. Always explain the passage’s immediate context: what events precede the extract? Pay close attention to the detail, to setting and characterisation. Consider the relationship between the excerpt and the themes of the text. Group related ideas together in your answer, but be sure to discuss the entire passage. Remember to leave enough time to write about the whole passage rather than covering one section in detail while neglecting the remainder of the extract!
Read the extract from John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men below carefully before answering the questions.
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