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Directions: Use main idea chunks (main idea, textual evidence, analysis) to answer the questions below in preparation for our Socratic seminar on Of Mice and Men. Make sure every response uses evidence: practice embedding textual evidence using the steps below!

Step 1: Introduce the source and the author. If you haven’t already done so earlier in your response, provide comments about the source or the author.

Step 2: Provide a paraphrase or direct quotation to support your claim. Make sure you begin with a verb and end with a parenthetical citation.

Step 3: Comment on why the evidence you used is important, relevant to the prompt, or somehow significant to your claim. This should be between one to three sentences.

Required Questions

  • Steinbeck named his novel Of Mice and Men after a line in Robert Burns’ poem, “To A Mouse,” which is written in apostrophe. This means that the speaker is addressing the subject of the poem directly. In his poem, Burns’ speaker is addressing a field mouse who’s home has just been destroyed by a plow. Read the modern interpretation of the poem at Then, explain why Steinbeck may have decided to name his novel after the poem.
  • At the beginning of this unit, you learned that John Steinbeck won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1962. Now that you’ve read Of Mice and Men, “Johnny Bear,” and one chapter of The Pearl, determine which characteristics these three texts have in common. What unique qualities about Steinbeck’s writing led to his Nobel Peace Prize win?
  • The concepts of manslaughter, murder, euthanasia, and capital punishment are all alluded to or directly addressed within Of Mice and Men. First, explain how the similarities and differences between these four concepts. As a society, how do we draw the line between manslaughter, murder, capital punishment, and euthanasia?
  • The American Dream is a concept that many of you have heard of, but may not fully understand. In fact, some people argue that The American Dream is a myth, an illusion that is completely unattainable. Before answering the following question, define the American Dream. Then determine whether or not you believe it exists. Use textual evidence to explain whether or not Steinbeck would agree with your claims about the American Dream.

Your Choice: Pick Two

  • In both Of Mice and Men and “The Lottery” there was a betrayal between friends in a community. How does the betrayal of friends in a community reflect the betrayal between allies in the war?
  • Several of the texts we’ve read show the pain individuals suffer because of discrimination. Why don’t individuals from Of Mice and Men, “The Lottery”, and present-day society question discriminatory practices that hurt other people?
  • Both Of Mice and Men and “The Lottery” took place during significant periods in our country’s history: one during the Great Depression and the other during the aftermath of World War II. How does literature reflect the time period from which it is written?
  • Of Mice and Men and “The Lottery” both portray the idea of death as being unfair. Evaluate how the unfair deaths in the stories affect the main characters.
  • We’ve spent a considerable amount of time discussing a variety of abstract concepts addressed in literature. Which abstract concept has been the most significant for you? In other words, which have you learned the most about?
  • At the beginning of this unit, I posed the question: How does literature teach us lessons about life? Answer this question using evidence from two of the texts we’ve read as a class, and at least one of the sources you’ve included in your Thematic Blog.