Please give me feed back on my essay! -Of Mice and Men

I am really bad at writing essays, so any help would be appreciated.
The Question:
Describe an important character or individual you could relate to. Explain why it is important you could relate to the character or individual.

In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck the important characters I could relate to are Crooks and Curley’s wife. It is important I relate to these characters because it helps me to learn about myself and those around me. Steinbeck’s purpose in writing this novel is to show us the hardships the people faced during the Great Depression. His intent is to show us a true and fair realistic viewpoint of what it was like back then, not one that is glamorized or false.

Crooks is someone who doesn’t have a “voice” in the farm. He is not allowed to speak his mind or disobey people who are in a higher social standing for fear of being punished. Due to this, he is discriminated against time and time again. This control over him by those of the upper class can be seen through the things in his room: “split collars” and “chains” Through this use of symbolism of control, we as the audience can see that he is not treated as someone who is equal but as a tool. His actions, speech, thoughts are not his but controlled by those above him. His hardships and purpose is to serve and benefit those above him. It is important I could relate to this character because there will always be those in power, who would take advantage of others, and that is just the cruel world we live in today. However, it does not give us the right to be complacent and accept the way things are. Even though they may take our speech, thoughts and actions, they can’t take away our decision and initiative to go against the brutal status quo. This control over Crooks is further reinforced when we see him go from “standing up” and “facing” Curley’s wife to “growing smaller and pressing himself in” when he hears Curley’s wife say “I can hang you up, so easy it ain’t even funny.” Through this, it emphasizes the disparity in power between Crooks (the lower class) and Curley’s wife (upper class). He knows the power that she holds which is why stopped retaliating, because he doesn’t want to get into more trouble. However by ignoring this and accepting the way things are, he unknowingly feeds the brutal cycle of racism, enabling his oppressors to think that their actions are justified. It is imperative to relate to this character because it helped me to understand the importance of having a voice and having the courage to do what is right. It is easy to sit idle and turn a blind to the horrible those in power to commit, but it’s a hard thing to “stand up” and “face” them. Many people want to change the world, but how could we expect change when we don’t even have the courage to try?

Another character I could relate to is Curley’s wife who is misjudged by those around her. This can be shown through her first description when we are introduced to her. “She had rouge lips, fingernails were red and she wore red mules.” Through the use of repetition of the colour “red” it helps us to see that the ranch workers see her as someone who is dangerous, a temptress, and that no matter how much attraction they feel towards her, she is someone to be avoided. We, as the audience, can’t help feel the same way as these men. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This can be seen through her description after she dies. “All the planning, meanness, discontent, and the ache for attention were all gone from her face.” Through this description, we see that she is not as conniving and dangerous as we originally thought she was. All she ever wanted was someone to talk to and lean on whenever she felt lonely. It is important that I am able to relate to this character because I and many others don’t want to feel judged and be perceived as someone who I am not, and yet we unknowingly do the same do the exact opposite and form preconceived notions about others, much like we formed the notion that Curley’s wife is dangerous. It also helps me understand how easy it is to judge someone and distort the way we see others that we believe our preconceived notions of them is true, even though they are false.

In conclusion, the characters I had a strong connection with are Curley’s wife and Crooks because in some ways I see myself in them. It was important to be able to relate to them because it helped me to see the importance of having a voice and not sitting idle when things are not just. Also, it showed me that we shouldn’t judge others by their exterior but by who they are on the inside.

You have made a really good start here with the essay, you know the text and have thought about how you feel in relation to it. There are a few things you could do to refine the essay a little. Firstly - the question asks for one character and you have addressed two, it would be better to fully explore Crooks than try and cover Curley’s wife as well. You have addressed both parts of the question but you could try and develop the responses.

The first part of the question leads you to describe the character. Here you could develop further, begin with the details of his part - he is a stablehand, an African American and disabled. He lives apart from the rest because of his race… and so on.

This then would lead to a discussion about the discrimination he suffers from the others and the reasons for this. This part of the question could be extended with another example of something from the book, maybe the way he reacts when Lennie comes to his room when the others are out… Basically being more specific about him as a character and how this is shown in the book.
The second part is referred to in some detail but again try and make the comments more specific, you raise the idea that there are situations in life when those in power take advantage of others and we shouldn’t be complacent but go against them. This needs to be related back to what you learnt from watching Crooks and the others… this then will get to the purpose, which you stated at the start, as how people faced hardship during the Depression, but it would be good to go back to this and talk about how Crooks was a victim not only of the Depression but also of discrimination and faced exactley the same issues of lonliness and hopelessness as the others.

You have made a really good start here, try another with more specific discussion.