Year 10 students in Mr West’s class last week took part in a mock trial in their English lesson, related to their study of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The character of Lennie, represented by Harshiv Chandra, was on trial for the murder of Curley’s Wife – an unlikely outcome in the novel owing to the character’s own untimely demise. Lawyers for both the prosecution and defence put forward convincing cases to the jury, aided by a range of witnesses in the form of characters from the novel, and presided over by Judge Jacob Pickett, who maintained order in the courtroom despite the palpable tension and excitement which at times spilled over into angry objections to the points being made.
Following both teams’ closing statements, the jury were swift in their deliberations, taking little time to reach a unanimous verdict of ‘Not Guilty’ to the charge of second degree murder. However, owing to the character’s diminished mental capacity and unwitting danger to society, this verdict came with a recommendation that Lennie be taken into permanent care.
All students did an excellent job of getting into character and demonstrating their deep and thorough understanding of the novel, which they have been studying throughout the term as part of the IGCSE English Literature course. The controversy and outrage caused by the return of the final verdict was testament to how much thought and effort they had invested in the activity.