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Passing Essay
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In Nella Larsen"s novel, Passing, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry can be considered as the protagonists. The novel concentrates on the issue of skin color and passing. Passing is when African-American"s with light skin pass as white in order to enjoy the privileges that white people enjoyed. Irene Redfield is a middle-class, light-skin African-American woman who regrets passing but occasionally passes as white. She is married to Brian a doctor who is too dark to pass. Irene"s life is going along as usual when she runs into a childhood friend, Clare Kendry. Clare Kendry is also a light-skin African-American woman...
to renew their friendship. Deep inside Irene is fascinated by Clare"s ability to pass, and Clare is her connection to the white world as she is Clare"s connection to the black world. Clare also brings doubt about her pride of being black to Irene. Irene"s indifference towards Clare in the beginning turns into appreciation almost obsession towards Clare. Irene learns to understand Clare and builds a friendship with her that she is unable to reveal Clare"s indetity to John. When Clare gets so involved in their lives Irene wishes that she could somehow leave and Clare passes away.

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English essay on wide reading -...English essay on wide reading - "The Withered Arm" and "Of mice and Men" "Of Mice and Men" was written by the author John Steinback and published in England in1937. It tells the story of two very contrasting characters trying to live out the American dream in the farming lands of North California. The tale is classed as a short story as is "The Withered Arm" which is a story about witchcraft in Dorchester during the 18th century. This book was written by the author Thomas Hardy and published in 1888. Although the stories were written in different centuries and tell of different circumstances there are many similarities between them involving outsiders, loneliness, the roles of women and much more. Straight away you can tell when reading that the two books are from separate times and places and this is due to the language and setting used. In "Of Mice and Men" the language used is that of the itinerant worker this is typical of that which would have been used on the farms at the time. This helps add to the realism of the story and make it more life like. Steinback also uses a great deal of description including metaphors and similes to describe the landscape around him. These give us a clear and vivid picture of the natural world surrounding the characters. This technique is particularly used in the first and last scene in the forest near the river. This scene is remembered the most clearly as its placed at the two crucial points where readers will be reading every word in detail to gain a good understanding of the book. The fact that the story ends in the same place it began gives it a circular structure. Not only are the characters in the same place but life is set to continue in the same way for George as he will leave this farm to work at another just as he was doing at the beginning. The language and setting is also very important in "The Withered Arm" as many words in the story such as "lorn" and "wellnigh" are not commonly used in the writing today so help set a date to the story. Because Hardy was brought up in Dorset and the people in the villages there spoke their own dialect some of the words used in the story also help set a place to the time and setting. Hardy also uses detailed description and pathetic fallacy to make the weather, scene and story fit together. For instance when Rhoda and Gertrude are travelling to see Conjurer Trendle Rhoda is apprehensive and thinks something bad is going to happen. The weather echoes this where"¦ "Thick clouds made the atmosphere dark"¦the wind howled dismally" One of the most obvious comparisons between the two stories is how many of the main characters are lonely and outsiders compared to the others. In "Of Mice and Men" Lenny and George are alone as although they have each other it seems to be more of a chore to be with each other than a friendship. Both George and Rhoda have only child like characters to confide in and have no one of their own intellectual level or age to talk to. Because Lenny and George are new to the area they don't know who to trust and have to keep some distance from the new people they are meeting so can't make friends this way. However the opposite is true with Rhoda as although she has been there for many years she is described as"¦ "A thin, fading woman of thirty milked somewhat apart from the rest." She is partly separated because she wants to keep to herself although I believe that social class separates certain characters in both books. Because Rhoda was married to Farmer Lodge she used to be part of the "upper class" now that she has to work again her pride has been hurt and she is to ashamed to try and reassociate herself with the other milk maids. Gertrude, the young wife of farmer lodge is also set aside because of her "marks of a lady" as is put in the book. As the wife of a reasonably wealthy man she is not to be seen mixing with the workers and although she manages it it is very difficult for her to get them to accept her. This idea of division among the social classes is also true in Steinbacks story where Curly and his wife are believed to be above the others and are not expected to spend time with the other workers. Therefore when Curly comes in to the mens living quarters there is uncomfortable conversation as his class and arrogance have set him apart from them. It is also all the more shocking then that his wife is continuously talking and hassling the men into being around her when as the bosses' wife she should have had nothing to do with them. One other cause of loneliness in of mice and men is due to the prejudice between whites and coloured people. The coloured, crippled stable boy is set apart from the other men as his colour invents yet another "class" of people who are socially below even the farm workers. It is ironic that the one of the only people to see that his colour makes no difference is Lenny and he is the least intellectual person in the story. Another type of prejudice is used in both books and this is to do with the role of women. Both Gertrude, Rhoda and Curlys wife all have the fact that they are women and good looking used against them but curlys wife is hurt the most. Because of her looks and flirtatious nature the workers automatically assume that she is a horrible person and looking for trouble. Although this is partly true we find out later that she is only really looking for people to talk to as she is yet another lonely person in the book. Although the men were disgusted by her flirting they find no problem in visiting "old Suzies place" where they can pay "two an' a half" for a girl. This shows that the men believed a married womans place was in the house and she should obey her husband. This point is reinforced when Carlson says in reference to Curlys wife"¦ "Why'n't you just tell her to stay the hell home where she belongs?" The main themes in both stories are based on dreams and ambitions. "Of Mice and Men" shows Lenny and George trying to live out the typical American dream with Lenny wanting to tend rabbits and George "live of the fatta the land". In "The Withered Arm" Gertrude wants to be a good wife and Rhoda wants to be reunited with farmer lodge and have him acknowledge his son. Although these dreams all look set to come true at some point during the book there are clues given by both writers to the fact that none of them will accomplish there goals. For example, when we hear the dreams of the ranch Lenny and George want to live on it seems almost impossible that two lowly farm workers would be able to achieve such a goal but the promise of the money from Candy makes it seem almost certain to happen. However we hear throughout the book how all farm workers dream the same thing but no one has ever seen it actually happen. This is pointed out when crooks the stable boy says"¦ "I seen hundreds of men come by on the road"¦every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in his head an' never a god damn one of 'em gets it." Comments such as this can tell readers what is likely to happen and you know that for some reason they will never get to live on their ranch. The most obvious sign that "Of Mice and Men" is going to end tragically is the meaning of the title that roughly translates as"¦ "No matter how well we plan the future, things often go wrong." The endings to both books are very violent with the deaths of a main character bringing a similarity between the two stories. I think the endings are appropriate and bring a good climax to the story, as had the two characters not died they would have suffered even more. For example Lenny could not have lived with the fact that his dream wasn't going to happen and he was going to have to be a worker all his life. To have him die while dreaming of his ranch seems almost like a happy but ironic ending. The same goes for Gertrude had she not died she would have had to live with the fact that she was becoming disfigured and this would have meant she would have lost her husband and lived a lonely solitary life. Killing both the characters seems like an act of mercy to them as they are both innocent victims who got caught up in a life where they were set to be hurt but did nothing bad to bring it upon themselves.   

English essay on wide reading - "The Withered Arm" and "Of mice and Men" "Of Mice and Men" was written by the author John Steinback and published in England in1937. It tells the story of two very contrasting characters trying to live out the American dream in the farming lands...

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Everywhere you look there is prejudice,...Everywhere you look there is prejudice, you may be the wrong colour, worship the wrong God or wear the wrong thing. No-one fits into our idealistic world perfectly. This prejudice has been around for thousands of years because it is just human nature not to accept people for who they are. In Of Mice And Men there are several different levels of prejudice shown, all contributing to the failure of the American dream. The main types of prejudice shown in this novel are racial, sexual and social prejudice. This essay is firstly going to look at racial prejudice. There is much racial prejudice shown in Of Mice And Men towards Crooks the black crippled stable buck. Crooks is more permanent than the other ranch hands and has his own room off the stables with many more possessions than them. This room is made out to be a privilege and also because it means he is nearer to the horses but in fact it is really because the other ranch hands do not want him in the bunk house with them. As a result of this prejudice Crooks has become bitter and very lonely. When Lennie comes to pet the puppies, not even realising that Crooks' room is 'out of bounds', Crooks instantly becomes defensive and uncivil "I ain't wanted in the bunk room and you ain't wanted in my room" but Lennie in his childish innocence is completely without prejudice " Why aint you wanted" he asks. Crooks retaliates to this with: "Cause I'm black, they play cards in there but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink. Well I tell you, all of you stink to me" This line showing that Crooks desperately wants to join in, be accepted, but because of his colour he can't and so he feels the only way he can make himself feel better is to cut himself off further, it is a vicious circle. When Crooks realises that Lennie means no harm he invites him to " Come on in and set a while" Lennie begins to talk about George and his dream, it makes Crooks reminisce to his childhood which he looks on as a kind of paradise. "The white kids come to play at our place, an' sometimes I went to play with them and some of them were pretty nice. My ol' man didn't like that. I never knew till long later why he didn't like that. But I know now". Crooks' didn't experience racism directly in his childhood, making his current situation even worse. Crooks is fascinated by the strength of the friendship of Lennie and George, especially how close they are. Crooks said, "Well, s"pose, jus" s"pose he don"t come back. What"ll you do then?" Crooks asks these questions because he does not have any friends, and wouldn't know how losing them unexpectedly would feel. He was curious and envious, about the friendship of Lennie and George, noticing that Lennie is retarded, he takes advantage of this situation to "torture" him mentally, to make him feel better and ease the pain of having other reject him "Crooks' face lighted with pleasure at his torture" he also does this to ease his jealousy towards the friendship Lennie has, but that he, Crooks, will probably never have. He wants the people to feel the way that he does, completely alone. Crooks goes on to talk about his loneliness " 'A guy needs somebody-to be near him' He whined:' A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you' he cried 'I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick'" Crooks is looking for sympathy, he is so incredibly lonely even to the point to saying that loneliness can make you ill. George continues to talk about his dream. Crooks, having been on the ranch for quite a while, has witnessed a lot of people with the same dream, he ridicules it "Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody never gets no land" but when Candy comes in and backs up what George has been saying he begins to believe in the dream "If you"¦guys want a hand to work for nothing-just his keep, why I'd come and lend a hand" Crooks sees the dream as his escape from what he is living in, somewhere like his childhood where his colour wouldn't be an issue. There are different levels of racial prejudice exhibited throughout the book. Most of the ranch hands don't like or socialise with Crooks but would not go out of their way to insult him. Curley's wife on the other hand is rude without excuse. " 'Listen, Nigger' , she said. 'You know what I can do to you if you open you trap'" She abuses her position and has no respect for him at all, she doesn't even refer to him by his name, looking down on him with utter contempt and disdain. It is attitudes like hers that have turned him into the bitter man he has become "Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego-nothing to arouse either like or dislike" This essay is going to next look at sexual prejudice. Curley's wife is shown a lot of sexual prejudice over the course of the novel. Living on a ranch where the large majority of the inhabitants are male she is very lonely. George says "Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain't no place for a girl" Perhaps to signify the fact she is insignificant, she is always referred to as 'Curley's wife', never given a name. She experiences sexual prejudice in that none of the ranch hands will talk to her. This is partly because she can make up things about those she dislikes who will subsequently get 'the can' and also because she is a 'looloo' with a very flirtatious nature. "She got the eye goin' all the time on everybody. I bet she even gives the stable buck they eye. I don't know what the hell she wants" says Whit. The ranch hands don't trust her or understand her. George says "Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain't no place for a girl, specially like her" An old lover told her that she "coulda went with the shows, not jus one neither" He promised her that he would write "Soon's he got back to Hollywood" but he never did and so she married Curley. Because of this she's dissatisfied and feels she's been deprived by life. In fact she doesn't even like Curley "He ain't a nice fella". Because she has nothing to do but sit at home she goes out on the ranch under the pretence of looking for Curley. Some of the sexual prejudice she experiences is her fault, she scares the ranch hands with her femininity but she isn't really a tart, she just craves attention which she doesn't get from Curley. Ignored by both the ranch hands and Curley she has ended up very lonely, the one thing she most wanted to escape. This essay is next going to look at social prejudice. Most of the characters experience social prejudice at different levels throughout the course of the book. Candy, the old swamper is prejudiced against because of his age and his disability. Because of his hand he is unable to do a lot of the jobs that the other ranch hands do making him instantly an outsider. Also because he thinks that he is old he puts himself in a state of mind which handicaps him far more than his missing hand ever will. His life echoes that of his dog, he was once "the best damn sheep-dog I ever seen" but now is next to useless, Candy's life has gone somewhat the same way. Curley experiences social prejudice because he is the bosses son. The other workers are scared of him because of the position of power he holds over them. Because they can't accept him he has become horrible "This guy Curley sounds like a son-of-a-bitch to me, I don't like mean little guys". Curley is also very short, and therefore hates big men like Lennie. He is a very insecure man but hides these insecurities by acting as if he isn't scared by anything or anyone. He has cut himself off from people as much as they have cut themselves off from him. Lennie is a victim of social prejudice in the fact that, being retarded, he can't socially interact with the natural ease of George. He is left behind when the ranch hands go into town and he is left out of card games purely because he can't play. Because he like others experiences prejudice, and also because he is very easy to talk to in that they know he "won't go blabbing'", Crooks and Curley's wife feel they can talk to him. George and Lennie experience social prejudice in a sense that people can't accept the unusual relationship they have with each other. The novel is a microcosm, a cross-section of society at the time reflecting the kind of prejudice around at the time. At the time of the novel blacks in America had no rights, they were seen as nobodies. Because of this prejudice many of them, like Crooks "retired into the terrible protective dignity of the negro". Women also had very few rights. There are many different levels of prejudice exhibited in Of Mice And Men. Through these prejudices the characters such as Crooks and Curley's wife have become intensely lonely but they are in hopeless position which they can do nothing about. These prejudices can still be seen in the world today.   

Everywhere you look there is prejudice, you may be the wrong colour, worship the wrong God or wear the wrong thing. No-one fits into our idealistic world perfectly. This prejudice has been around for thousands of years because it is just human nature not to accept people for who they...

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