Welcome to my blog.  Hopefully, you will find some useful resources to help you with your English work.

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Mrs P


Twelfth Night – interpretations

This is a link to the fantastic Youtube playlist by the National Theatre based on their recent production of Twelfth Night.

These are really useful for the OCR A Level English Literature, Drama and Prose paper where you can reference theatre productions when addressing AO5 (interpretation).


Topics are:




Mistaken Identity





Suffering through Love



Explore how Steinbeck presents the experience of loneliness.

These are some notes (introduction and lead sentences) that you might find helpful when writing your essay.

In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses the ranch as a microcosm of 1930s Depression era America in order to explore the challenges faced by itinerant workers. His focus on work and its importance in a time of hardship allows him to present the consequences and effects of life as a labourer. The most significant effect is loneliness. Through his use of characterisation and setting, Steinbeck makes clear this prevalent loneliness, the experience of which makes characters cruel, solipsistic and desperate for communication.

Steinbeck uses the character of Crooks to explore the loneliness experienced by victims of prejudice.

George and Lennie’s relationship is presented as the antithesis of the loneliness experienced by archetypal itinerant workers.

Steinbeck’s characterisation of Curley’s Wife as a lonely woman, starved of affection, reflects social attitudes towards women and their lack of importance in a ‘work’ context.

Curley’s Wife

This is a copy of a letter sent by John Steinbeck to the actress playing the part of Curley’s Wife in a stage adaptation of Of Mice and Men.

Steinbeck offers Curley’s Wife’s ‘backstory’ as he imagined it. This gives an interesting insight, particularly in terms of her sexual experiences.


To Claire Luce                                                                                                   Los Gatos [1938]

Dear Miss Luce:

Annie Laurie says you are worried about your playing of the part of Curley’s wife although from the reviews it appears that you are playing it marvelously. I am deeply grateful to you and to the others in the cast for your feeling about the play. You have surely made it much more than it was by such a feeling.

About the girl–I don’t know of course what you think about her, but perhaps if I should tell you a little about her as I know her, it might clear your feeling about her.

She grew up in an atmosphere of fighting and suspicion. Quite early she learned that she must never trust any one but she was never able to carry out what she learned. A natural trustfulness broke through constantly and every time it did, she got her. her moral training was most rigid. She was told over and over that she must remain a virgin because that was the only way she could get a husband. This was harped on so often that it became a fixation. It would have been impossible to seduce her. She had only that one thing to sell and she knew it.

Now, she was trained by threat not only at home but by other kids. And any show of fear or weakness brought an instant persecution. She learned to be hard to cover her fright. And automatically she became hardest when she was most frightened. She is a night, kind girl, not a floozy. No man has ever considered her as anything except a girl to try to make. She has never talked to a man except in the sexual fencing conversation. she is not highly sexed particularly but knows instinctively that if she is to be noticed at all, it will be because some one finds her sexually desirable.

As to her actual sexual life–she has had none except with Curley and there has probably been no consummation there since Curley would not consider her gratification and would probably be suspicious if she had any. Consequently she is a little starved. She knows utterly nothing about sex except the mass misinformation girls tell one another. If anyone–a man or woman–ever gave her a break–treated her like a person–she would be a slave to that person. Her craving for contact is immense but she, with her background, is incapable of conceiving any contact without some sexual context. With all this–if you knew her, if you could ever break down a thousand little defenses she has built up, you would find a nice person, an honest person, and you would end up by loving her. But such a thing could never happen.

I hope you won’t think I’m preaching. I’ve known this girl and I’m just trying to tell you what she is like. She is afraid of everyone in the world. You’ve known girls like that, haven’t you? You can see them in Central Park on a hot night. They travel in groups for protection. They pretend to be wise and hard and voluptuous.

I have a feeling that you know all this and that you are doing all this. Please forgive me if I seem to intrude on your job. I don’t intend to and I am only writing this because Annie Laurie said you wondered about the girl. It’s a devil of a hard part. I am very happy that you have it.

John Steinbeck


Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

You might like to use this sort of structure when you’re writing about how Winterson presents her mother in the extract we looked at from Oranges are Not the Only Fruit.

Winterson presents her mother as…

In the quotation ‘…’, the word/image/reference to… suggests…

This is effective because the reader can infer that the mother is…

An example of a developed point might be:

Winterson presents her mother as obstreperous. In the quotation ‘She wanted the Mormons to knock on the door’, the word ‘wanted’ and the fact that it is in italics suggests that Winterson’s mother deliberately looks for opportunities to tell people about her opinions and to challenge other people’s beliefs. This is effective because the reader can infer that the mother is different to other people because she is deliberately confrontational and is happy to stand out.

American Realism and Naturalism

Here is a range of resources which you may find useful when thinking about Realism and Naturalism in your study of American Literature 1880-1940 for the OCR A Level Contextual and Comparative paper.

Firstly, this is an image which shows the differences between Realism and Naturalism:


This is developed in more detail here where you can find a list of similarities as well as differences.

This is a link to the Britannica entry for the ‘American Naturalists’:

Britannica Naturalists

It gives a useful overview of the main writers in the Naturalist movement.