This GCSE English Literature quiz will test you on John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Although comprehension accounts for the first steps in approaching any work, it is not always easy to understand a text. Authors have a variety of methods through which to convey meaning and very rarely state what they mean directly. Instead, they use character, setting, plot, theme and dialogue to show the reader what they wish to convey. As a reader, you must pay close attention and try to understand the text as you read. Sometimes it becomes apparent that you will need to reread certain sections, especially if a later turn of events shows that you might have missed something. Don’t worry! This happens to all readers and shows that you are paying attention!
Comprehension works on several levels simultaneously. Think about context and setting and how these relate to events. Consider too how events relate to each other. One helpful method for understanding a text is to create a timeline of events. Remember, though, that events are not always revealed in the order in which they occur chronologically. Sometimes it can be useful to create chapter summaries when the structure of a text differs from the chronological timeline.
Think about characters’ actions and what these reveal about their motivations. Do any clues in the text explain their behaviour? Should readers take their words at face value, or should their subtext be examined more closely? Do characters’ words always match their actions and their beliefs? Try to answer why or why not, justifying your views by referring in detail to the text.
Analysing beginnings and endings is a very useful activity. Why does the text begin where it does? How do you come to find out about previous events? Is there any distance between the narrator and the time when reported events took place? Are future events foreshadowed? How? Analyse individual chapters in the same way: think about the significance of their beginnings and endings. Undertaking detailed analysis of this sort will really improve your knowledge and understanding of the text!
Read the questions below on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and test your knowledge and understanding of the text.