After reading Of Mice and Men, consider which aspect of the novel you would be most interested in exploring in a paper.
1. Discuss how and why Steinbeck uses animal imagery.
2. Discuss how loneliness influences the characters in the novel.
3. Discuss the outsiders in this community. What role does each play in the story?
4. Compare the novel to the Robert Burns poem, “To a Mouse.”
5. Discuss the dreams of the characters, focusing on the American dream: to own property and be the king of your own castle.
6. Discuss the ways in which George takes responsibility for Lennie, and how well he succeeds in his role as Lennie’s caretaker.
7. Discuss power in the novel. Who has it and what do they do with it?
8. Discuss Lennie and George’s relationship. How do they mutually benefit one another? How do the mutually harm one another?
•Your essay should be 5-7 paragraphs in length, following the rubric on the other side of this page.
•You do NOT need to use quotations, but you do need to offer solid textual evidence from the novel for your assertions. Evidence includes summaries, paraphrases, specific details, and, finally, quotations. If you choose to use quotations, follow the guidelines on the “Using Quotations” handout. Look at p. 135 in Grammar for Writing for ideas about organizing your essay, and pp. 187-193 for specifics about writing literary analysis.
•Write as if your audience is a group of intelligent people who have read the novel in the past. That means you can’t start talking about Crooks without explaining who he is.
• Write about the novel in the present tense. “When George explains Lennie’s propensity for getting into trouble to Slim, he is relieved to finally reveal what his life caring for Lennie has been like.”
•Don’t use contractions in a formal essay.
•Although there is a formula that must be observed in writing your first paragraph, find a way to connect with your reader and spark interest in your topic. Questions can be a way to do this, but be careful: “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to care for a mentally disabled person?” is both clunky and clearly not on the minds of most readers. See page 131 in Grammar for Writing for more ideas.