Writing Situation

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Of Mice and Men Prompt: 2012
Writing Situation:

In John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice & Men, George makes a surprising and controversial decision to kill his best friend, Lennie, at the end of the novel. Some readers may think that George had no other choice to kill Lennie. George may have had Lennie’s best interest in mind, saving him a painful death, jail, or a continued path of destruction. On the other hand, some readers may feel that George made a rash decision to murder his friend to selfishly protect himself or to finally rid himself of the burden of Lennie. Decide whether or not you feel George’s decision to kill his friend was justified.

Writing Directions:

In a well-organized, 5-paragraph essay, persuade your audience to agree that George’s decision to kill Lennie was/ was not justified. Use rhetorical devices throughout your essay to support your argument. Finally, connect George’s decision to Steinbeck’s overall message/ theme.

Introductory paragraph

  1. Hook suggestion: begin with a counterargument that address a topic/theme

Some people may think _________________; however, ____________________________________________.

*Hint: use the info from the writing situation above to address any counterarguments!

  1. Mention the title Of Mice and Men + author’s first and last name (John Steinbeck) + explain how George’s decision to kill Lennie makes a topic/theme clear to the reader.

Example: In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, the reader learns that responsibility can be a burden when the main character, George, kills his best friend, Lennie at the end of the novel.

  1. Directly answer the prompt by writing a clear and opinionated thesis statement.

George’s decision to kill/murder/euthanize Lennie is/ is not justified because ___________________.

  • Make sure your thesis statement is the LAST sentence in your intro paragraph

  • Do not include any

Body paragraphs: For each body paragraph, complete the following…

  1. Write a TS that is a more specific form of your thesis, specifically detailing what the body paragraph is about. Do not include any CDs (facts or examples) from the novel!

  2. Find CDs (examples) from the text that prove your opinion (TS)

  3. Write CMs (opinion sentences) that explain how the CD proves your TS. Use rhetorical devices (appeals, rhetorical questions, counterarguments, repetition and/or parallel structure to persuade your audience to agree with your opinion.

  4. Write a CS that gives a final insight on the TS.

Body P 1

1. TS frame:

One reason George is justified/ not justified in killing Lennie is __________________________________________________.

  1. Transition + lead-in+ CD (quote or paraphrase)

  2. CM: Interpret the meaning of the CD in relation to your TS

  3. CM: Explain how your CD proves your TS

  4. repeat steps #2-4 (CD, CM, CM)

  5. CS: concluding sentence. Your concluding sentence should explain how you proved your TS and possible indirectly connect to the overall theme.

CS sentence frame: By _____________________, George shows _____________________ and proves ______________________________ (theme).

Example: By brutally killing his friend, George shows he is dishonest and selfish and proves that even a close friend can betray trust.

Body P 2 TS frame:

Another important aspect to consider about George’s decision is __________________________________________________.

2. Follow steps #2-6 from body P #1
Body P 3 TS frame:

Finally, George confirms he is/ is not justified in killing Lennie, because ___________________________________________________.

2. Follow steps #2-6 from body P #1

Your concluding paragraph should do the following:

  1. Restate your thesis without using exactly the same words (should have more analysis than the thesis).

  2. Summarize your strongest points / ideas

  3. Make a connection, reflection, or insightful statement. Remember this is your judgment here!

  4. Make a call to action!


Insightful theme analysis:

George killing Lennie helps the reader understand Steinbeck’s message that loneliness comes from sacrifice. George’s decision proves that people know life will never be the same if they sacrifice a best friend.

Call-to-action: Therefore it is clear that, in life, everyone should question a decision that involves sacrifice.
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