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Lennie and George are at the river, on the run from a posse who want to lynch Lennie.

Starts with expressions of hope for the future. At the end Curley taints this optimism, with George stating he fears a tangle with that bastard. Lennie kills his puppy. Lennie kills Curleys wife.


Lennie gets a puppy. George warns Lennie to stay away from Curleys wife. Starts with expressions of hope for the future. At the end Curleys wife taints this optimism. She screeches at Crooks, you keep your place then, nigger. Her callous comment resonates, the lower class working men all fear that their dreams can never be realised. Lennie and George are at the river, on the run from a posse again. The narrative climaxes when George shoots Lennie.






As the diagram outlines, a feature of Of Mice and Men is its circular plot structure. The chapters in the text have been designed to parallel each other in terms of settings, events, themes and ideas. When the reader considers this narrative in terms of its circular structure a main plot and subplots are revealed. Steinbeck has skilfully juxtaposed content in chapters one and six, two and five and three and four, to weave together a series of storylines that create one powerful tale.

The main plot chapters one and six:

The story of Lennie and George is the overarching plotline in Of Mice and

Men. Steinbeck focuses on their relationship to deliver a snapshot of the lives of working men in the times of the Great Depression. A strong humanist position is established by Steinbeck as he explores the friendship of two men who are living within a society that is hostile and generally indifferent to those who are marginalised. The way in which George and Lennie hold tight to their hope to one day own their own dream farm inspires the reader to also invest in that vision. As Steinbeck circles the plot from George and Lennie being on the run from a posse in Weed to George and Lennie being on the run from a posse in Soledad, he highlights the ongoing struggle for survival that, despite their best efforts, will always see George and Lennie helpless and pushed towards a tragic life journey denouement. Setting up the events to take place by the river is an important authorial choice by Steinbeck. The river symbolises the dead end nature that can characterise life; the fact that our lives will usually, no matter the twists and turns that can occur for us as they run their course, end up at a predetermined outcome based on our social status within a community. When considering this story it is powerful to know that the character of Lennie is based on a real person.

Subplot one - chapters two and five: Subplot two chapters two and five: Subplot three chapters three and four:

In your own words, outline the subplots in Of Mice and Men and how you believe they work to make the reader feel and think in certain ways about the text.

Further points for consideration and notes development:

What do you think Steinbecks use of the circular plot structure in Of Mice and Men shows about the existence of working men during the Great Depression? How does Steinbecks use of the circular plot structure emphasise the hopelessnes of the characters lives? Discuss the protagonists, antagonists and key supporting characters of the text when you respond to this question. Discuss what the organisation of the chapters in Of Mice and Men reveals about the destiny of the characters. How does the readers awareness of the characters destinies develop and how does this make them feel for the characters and their circumstances. The circular plot structure emphasises the miserable journeys of the characters throughout Of Mice and Men. Outline which characters do not survive their journey and which characters simply end up right back where they started with nothing solved.
The circular plot structure Foreshadowing: The circular plot structucture in Of Mice and Men assists Steinbeck with the incorporation of foreshadowing within the narrative. A sense of foreboding is fostered in the reader as unfortunate events preempt larger scale incidents. For example, the deaths of Lennies mouse, Candys dog and Lennies puppy, preempt the deaths of Curleys wife, Lennie and the ranch workers dreams of a better life.

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