Environments can be viewed through a variety of different lenses: Social, political, economic, cultural, ethical and environmental lenses can all be applied to give a sense of the features of a particular environment.  When we look at a particular environment, we can see particular artefacts, actions and language that help us to understand the environment better.

We have already discussed this particular cultural artefact:

What lenses can be applied to this image?

Crooks and Curley’s Wife

These two relatively minor characters in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men demonstrate how people influence environments are influenced by environments.

Follow these steps to investigate this:

  1. Find all the examples and descriptions of the two characters.
  2. Select a relevant lens. Thinking broadly, brainstorm: which characters affect the environment? Which characters are affected by the environment?
  3. Choose 5 key quotes about your character from the board. Investigate these quotes by looking at them through the lens.
  4. Based upon your investigation, decide how this character is affected by the environment. Then decide, how (or if!) they have any affect on the environment.

Homework Task

The notetaker needs to complete these tasks:

  1. Create a new google document and put it in your English Folio
  2. Record your notes on this document
  3. Share them with the others in your group (click share at the top right corner and type your peers names in eg. lastname_firstname@student.tisa.az)
The other members of the group:
  1. Once the notes have been posted, check they are accurate, add page numbers and any additional details.
  2. Look at the other characters who affect, or are affected by, the environment in relation to Crooks or Curley’s wife. Describe how the environment is affected or affected by.
Note. Organise your ideas logically. It should be clear to follow your groups ideas. Everyone should contribute.

Using Quotes to Support Your Ideas

You have all demonstrated that you can support your ideas with quotes though very few of you have demonstrated that you can do this with sophistication. Sophistication means that the quote flows naturally in the paragraph; it should look like it has cut out and pasted in like a bad collage.

Look at this example:

Candy is deeply influenced by the social environment he lives in. Life on the ranch is harsh; only those who can contribute are respected.  Candy lives in fear as he is treated as an outsider who must adhere to law of the group for fear of being dismissed. He has only one hand, the result of a farming accident, which has left him clinging to ranch by completing menial jobs. “They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as i can’t swamp out no bunk houses they’ll put me in the county” (88), shows that a person is only valuable if he can work and that Candy is well aware that his days at the ranch are numbered. When he overhears George and Lennie’s dream, this becomes a tantalising escape from the harsh reality of Tyler ranch.

An alternative might be:

Candy points out in part three that he’ll be fired “Jus’ as soon as [he] can’t swamp out not bunk houses…” and that “hey’ll put him in county” (88). This shows that a person is only valuable if he can work and that Candy is well aware that his days at the ranch are numbered.

A good source of more information can be found at The University College Writing Centre.


Look back over the work you have done on the environments in Of Mice and Men. Craft several paragraphs explaining the way in which these environments are shaped by and shape Crooks and Curley’s wife. Use quotes from the text and try to integrate effectively into your writing.

Image: ‘untitled

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