Student writing: Of Mice and Men

This is a first draft that one of my English GCSE students produced in one of our 80 minute Kip McGrath tuition sessions. Milos is an able student and we are really pushing to get an A* at GCSE. He had been asked to prepare an imagined interior monologue based on a character study of George in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, one of the more popular set texts for English.

We discussed what would make for a sophisticated piece of writing; ‘sophisticated’ being one of the key descriptors that differentiates the higher grades. We thought that using quotes in the traditional argument essay way would detract from the immediacy of the monologue but that George’s voice or register should be emulated and that some actual phrases from the text should be used. We thought that the piece should refer to incidents and themes from the text so the river scene and some of the attitudes to women are represented. Milos will develop this area I’m sure so that more of the historical and social context questions are raised. Another theme Milos chose to reference was the American Dream.

There are some other things to consider for the final draft but this is a great start:

You were just a poor little b******. You weren’t ready for the big open world and it’s harsh conditions. I should have been more careful. You were under my wing. Why did I ever throw you out there, into the wide open sea? Why did I ever let go of you, and hoped you could swim? Lennie… You were like a brother to me. I’m so.. so.. sorry. I promised your Aunt Clara I would never let anythin’ hurt you! I promised you’d live a safe life with me, Lennie.

But.. What could I have done? This was the only way, Lennie! Why did you have to go on and start living your own life? Why didn’t you do as I said, you dumb b******! You should’ve kept away from her, Lennie. You should have. You didn’t have to go and ruin both our dreams! Lennie…

Curly was going to kill you, Lennie! But not the way I did. No. He was going to make it slow and painful, Lennie. This was the only easy way out! Now you can have your damn rabbits, and your land!

I remember every moment with you, Lennie. Remember when I told you to jump into the river, and you jumped in? Lennie, you were such a silly fool! Took two men to get you out! But.. I never meant for you to get hurt, Lennie. I was only playing. You knew that, Lennie. You knew that, right? I was never harsh to you. Tough love, right? …Right?

That damn bitch of a wife should’a stayed away from you! Should’a gone and given Slim the eye, and left Lennie alone! Boy, if only Curley had kept a leash on his dog, we would’a never been in this mess! Damn women. Should be kept in the house. I hope no man ever lets his woman out to do as she pleases. No woman should be spoilt like that! Work, and damn work! That’s the only thing women are good for!

Imagine, Lennie. If you hadn’t’a messed up in Weed. We could’a been livin’ on our own now, with rabbits, damn it, Lennie! We could’a been livin’ off the fat of the land! But life just ain’t that easy, now, is it? God damn it, Lennie.

Lennie. Why did things have to be like this? “I got you and you got me” you’d say. God damn it, Lennie. I don’t got you, anymore. I don’t got anyone anymore.


About @moodybill

Trainee everything but practising teaching, photography, writing and drumming the hardest!
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