This GCSE English Literature quiz focusses on themes in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Theme in a work of literature ranges from the obvious to the very subtle. Some themes are dominant while others might be easy to miss and often the various themes engage with and impact upon one another. Theme connects setting, character, plot and dialogue and is communicated through the concepts and ideas which arise in different parts of the text, being voiced in different ways by different characters. Pay attention to these related ideas in order to follow the development of a theme over the course of a text. When writing about themes, check whether your initial thoughts match those you have at the end of a work. Have your ideas changed? If so, see if you can analyse exactly when and where your views on a key theme began to change.
The themes of the text provide the means with which the author communicates meaning to readers. Ideas and issues raised in the text may prompt readers to reconsider their own beliefs or ways of looking at the world. If a text makes you think, the author has successfully encouraged you to engage with one or more of its themes. Your views might be similar to those of other readers or you might find that you disagree strongly with other readers (or even your teacher). This is because your response to a text will be deeply personal, which is inevitable when you bring your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration of the text.
Of Mice and Men deals with themes of friendship, loneliness, longing, powerlessness, belonging and hoping. These themes are interrelated and touch upon the lives of each character in different ways. Although most of these themes are easily apparent, look out for subtlety and subtext in the novel. First impressions of an episode or a character might not tell the full truth.
Read the questions below and test your knowledge on the themes of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.
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