Of Mice and Men: Timed Expository Essay Writing Situation: The title for Of Mice and Men comes from a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796): “The best laid schemes o’ mice and men/Gang aft agley [often go awry]/And leave us nought but grief and pain/For promised joy.” For American society, the dream of a better life ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929. This was the start of the Great Depression. Yet, the dream survived for many individuals. Some made their way west to California to escape poverty, especially from the Dust Bowl region of the Mid-West, and sought renewal of the American Dream in the fields of California.
Directions for Writing: Choose one of the six topics below to write a multiparagraph essay based on John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. In your introduction, hook the audience’s attention then universally reflect upon the significance of the topic before tying it in to events in Of Mice and Men and providing a plot summary. Be sure you have an argumentative thesis statement that is the last sentence of your introduction. In each body paragraph, use at least two examples from the book that are analytically explained in depth to prove your thesis. Finally, restate the thesis in the conclusion and reflect upon the significance of your thesis and bring the audience to a new level of understanding regarding your topic and what you proved in the body paragraphs. Be sure to end your essay with an analogy or figure of speech that brings your essay to a powerful close that appeals to a universal audience. You will have two class periods to complete your essay.
Topic One: Write an essay using plot developments in Of Mice and Men to clearly analyze the themes of loneliness and isolation by examining how the actions of George, Curley, Crooks, and Carlson lead them to destroy those who are weaker.
Topic Two: Write an essay using plot developments in Of Mice and Men to clearly analyze how foreshadowing, irony, and symbols predict and represent George Milton and Lennie Small’s fate.
Topic Three: Write an essay using plot developments in Of Mice and Men to clearly analyze how Curley’s wife is a sympathetic character who is objectified as a woman and how her situation foreshadowed her death.
Topic Four: Write an essay using plot developments in Of Mice and Men to clearly analyze how George’s decision to kill Lennie was an act of mercy killing and was the morally correct thing to do.
Topic Five: Write an essay using plot developments in Of Mice and Men to clearly analyze the impossibility of the American Dream for the characters on the ranch and how this notion affects the values of teenagers in today’s economic climate.
Topic Six: Write an essay using plot developments in Of Mice and Men by creating your own topic. Your topic must analyze events, themes, characterization or other literary techniques in the plot and apply them to a clear subject on which to write. If you decide to create your own topic, you must first receive teacher approval before beginning to write.
Rubric Evaluation for Of Mice and Men Essay
Self Evaluation. Using the rubric below, evaluate your Of Mice and Men essay. For this scale, a score of zero is lowest and a score of four is highest. After each criterion is evaluated, write in the margins of your written draft a brief comment stating why that score was earned according to the rubric. Please be honest and conservative in evaluating the essay.
Introduction contains a universal lead that hooks audience’s attention, clearly addresses the prompt, and meaningfully reflects about the topic you’ve chosen to write about 0 1 2 3 4 =
Introduction narrows its reflective lead by smoothly transitioning into the topic for your essay, then sets the context of your topic by briefly summarizing Of Mice and Men in the context of your thesis 0 1 2 3 4 =
Thesis statement is clear, argumentative, answers the prompt, strongly controls essay, thoroughly guides the direction of each body paragraph, and appears as the last sentence of the introduction0 1 2 3 4 =
Contains at least three body paragraphs where each contains a strong statement clearly based on the structure of your thesis and controls the paragraph in which it is written0 1 2 3 4 =
Each body paragraph analyzes in depth directly cited examples from Of Mice and Men to clearly support the structure of your thesis by analytically explaining (not summarizing) and evaluating in several sentences or more how the cited examples prove your thesis0 1 2 3 4 =
At least one body paragraph contains an example of antithesis that is thoroughly refuted 0 1 2 3 4 =
Conclusion clearly restates the thesis in different words, appears as the first sentence, and strongly states what was proved in the body paragraphs 0 1 2 3 4
Reflect upon significance of your thesis in relation to Of Mice and Men by bringing the audience to a new level of understanding regarding your topic that has universal appeal0 1 2 3 4 =
Provides a strong, original final statement that uses a figure of speech or analogy to grab the audience’s attention0 1 2 3 4 =
Written in MLA format, uses parenthetical citations, is at least five paragraphs long, contains paragraphs of at least twelve sentences or more whereby the writer varies the paragraph structure by providing original, in-depth, analytical, evaluative, motivated, and on-topic writing0 1 2 3 4 =
Relatively free of pointers, spelling, grammatical, mechanical errors, and completely free of plagiarism 0 1 2 3 4 =
Add Scores and Total =
Divide Total by 12== =
Word Processed, Glossed Final Draft. As you word-process your essay, revise it according to your rubric evaluation. As you make revisions, gloss the changes by highlighting them in each paragraph in yellow or gray by using your word processor. Oh, and don’t forget to read the “Writers Rules,” “Pointers,” and “The Write Way” packet before completing your word processed draft, which, of course, must be typed and in MLA format.