Prompts for OF MICE AND MEN, by John Steinbeck


 ESSAY QUESTION options:  (circle the one you chose)

Directions: Write a 3-5 page persuasive essay or compare and contrast essay on one of the topic below.  Remember, the essay must be typed, double spaced, no cover page, has a heading in upper right, 12-font times new roman, and has all textual proof cited properly.


(1) Of Mice and Men is a novel about true friendship between two men, George and Lennie. While other characters in the novel are alone in the world, George and Lennie have each other.


Write an essay in which you discuss what makes their friendship special and what makes it work. Support your ideas about their friendship with examples from the novel. Convince your readers that you have read the novel carefully and thought deeply about the characters and their actions.




(2) Dreams are the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen. We all have dreams for the future: hopes and visions for ourselves and for those who touch our lives. Several of the characters in Of Mice and Men have hopes for the future; others reminisce about what their lives could have been.


Write a compare and contrast essay comparing your own dreams to those of 2-3 other characters in Of Mice and Men. Identify the characters and their dreams. Decide whether their dreams were realistic or impossible. Think about your own future. What are the dreams and expectations you have for your life? How will you reach your goals? Are your dreams realistic? Explain.


(3) Critique from the point of view of a specific organization.

Select an organization that might have a lot to say about the actions or portrayals of characters in the novel you read, and write a critique of the book from its point of view. Remember, these groups will have multiple points that they are upset with, or find offensive and would have specific points to talk about.

For example, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals might have a lot to say about Lennie’s treatment of animals in Of Mice and Men, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on the portrayal of Crooks, and the National Organization of Women on the portrayal of Curley’s wife and the fact that she was never given a name.


(4) Of Mice and Men is a novel that deals with many contrasts.  Pick one of the contrasts below and write an essay comparing and contrasting these points and talking about how effectively they were used.

(Counterpoints = opposites that create balance)

Idealism vs. Realism (what characters are realistic versus idealistic and how do they affect the story?)

Smart vs. Dumb (what characters are really smart and which are dumb, and how do they act as a counter balance to each other?)

Cruel vs. Merciful (which characters are merciful and which are cruel and how do they act as counter points for each other?)