Blake’s Lamb and Tyger

I have been covering William Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ with my Y11 class this week. Like many English teachers, I teach the companion poem ‘The Lamb’ at the same time, using the similarities and differences between the two to develop and deepen understanding. Having just finished teaching Of Mice and Men to my Y10 class, I was struck by some powerful similarities that are worth exporing1.
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Lennie’s Death and the Death of the Dream

Lennie’s demise at the end of Of Mice and Men is the culmination of the deaths that Steinbeck has used throughout the text to convey the hopelessness of the world these characters inhabit. Yet Lennie’s death does not just represent the death of their dream; it has a much more significant and symbolic role in our understanding of ourselves.
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Narration in Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin

As the ‘Reading Group Questions’ in the back of We Need to Talk About Kevin indicate, there is much to be made of the nature/nurture argument in the text. To me, however, this argument inevitably leads back to the concept of control. Who has it? Are Kevin’s character and his resulting actions an inescapable consequence of genes (nature) or does he, Eva or society have control over these factors (nurture)?
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