English 11

Essay prompt for Of Mice and Men
Since its inception, America has been viewed as the land of opportunity, the land where anyone can come and achieve success, despite the obstacles they may personally face. This idea is promoted as “The American Dream”—but is it a reality?

As we have read Steinbeck’s novel, we have discussed the obstacles one faces along the way to achieving one's dreams. We have also identified strengths that can be assets for people on the journey. We identified some other strengths and obstacles from analyzing the characters in the “How the Other Half Lives” activity.

We came to the conclusion that Steinbeck’s view of America is pretty depressing. None of the characters fully achieves his/her“American Dream.” But is it that way still today?

For this essay, you will have two tasks:

  • analyze the experiences of the characters from John Steinbeck’s novelette Of Mice and Men to derive a theme about life in American society (aka, the American experience, or The American Dream)? and
  • research contemporary American society to answer questions raised by your theme, specifically:
    • What is Steinbeck’s overall claim (or theme) about
    • To what extent is Steinbeck's claim still relevant or accurate in America today?

Set your essay up (organize it) so:

  • 1st Paragraph: Introduction (Set up common ground, a destabilizing condition, and your claim)
  • 2nd Paragraph: Textual Analysis of the Novel—What is Steinbeck’s perspective on life in America as portrayed in Of Mice and Men?
  • 3rd Paragraph: Summary of Research—In what way are Americans experiencing the same issues today? What systems are in place to help people overcome their obstacles?
  • 4th Paragraph: Conclusion—Discuss your opinion of the research. Evaluate the effectiveness of the systems. Are they effective? How do you know? Or what suggestions can you offer to improve life for all people in America?
  • Works Cited: In proper MLA format, include the citation information for ALL sources including Of Mice and Men. In order to earn a passing grade on your essay, you must cite ALL borrowed information properly (MLA format).