Of Mice and Men – Step-by-step Essay Plan


Consider the theme of loneliness in the novel, Of Mice and Men. How does it affect the friendships and relationships of the characters in the novel? Make sure that you support your ideas with quotes and explanations.


• What is the title of the book, and who wrote it? When was it written?
• Where and when is the novel set?
• Where did the inspiration for the novel come from?
• Who is the book about?
• What kind of life do these people have?
• There are other characters in the novel who are also lonely.
• What makes them lonely? (Age, race, sex.)
• What is your essay going to do?

Paragraph 1

• Discuss the central characters – George and Lennie.
• Who are they?
• What do they do?
• “guys like us that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world…” “they ain’t got nothing to look ahead to”
• What do they look like?
• Describe their personalities – what are they like?
• “watch out them cats don’t get the little rabbits’. Lennie breathed hard. “You jus’ let ‘em try to get the rabbits. I’ll break their god-damn necks.”
• “I seen the guys that go around ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time.”
• What do they like to do?

Paragraph 2

• Discuss the relationship between George and Lennie – what is it like?
• “If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.”
• What does George think of Lennie?
• “God, you’re a lot of trouble… I could get along so easy if I didn’t have you on my tail.”
• “If I was alone I could live so easy…” “you do bad things and I got to get you out”
• How does Lennie feel about George?
• “We could live offa the fatta the lan’.”
• “I didn’t mean no harm, George.”
• Who is in control?
• Why do they travel together?

Paragraph 3

• Discuss the character of Candy.
• Who is he?
• What does he do?
• What does he look like?
• What is he like?
• Who is his ‘friend’?
• “…at the old man’s heels there walked a drag-footed sheep-dog, grey of muzzle and with pale blind old eyes… “I had him ever since he was a pup”
• What happens to it?
• “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.”
• What does this show about Candy?
• How does it affect George?
• What does the future hold for him?
• “When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs “
• How does he try to stop this?
• Relationship with George and Lennie? (Buys into a friendship – how does he do this?)

Paragraph 4

• Discuss the character of Crooks.
• Who is he?
• What does he do?
• What does he look like?
• Where does he live?
• How does he describe his past?
• How does he describe his present life?
• “…a guy talking to another guy and it don’t make no difference if he don’t hear or understand. The thing is they’re talking, or they’re settin’ still not talkin’.”
• How is he treated?
• How is he forced to spend his time?
• “I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”
• Relationship with others?
• Why is he so bitter?

Paragraph 5

• Discuss the character of Curley’s wife.
• Who is she?
• What does she look like?
• What do all the farm workers say about her?
• Why are all of the workers frightened to talk to her?
• Why does she marry Curley?
• What does she feel about him?
• How does she describe her life on the ranch?
• “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while?.. I tell you I could of went with the shows… An’ a guy tol’ me he could put me in pitchers…”
• How does she behave – what things does she say and do in order to befriend the men?
• Why does she do this?
• Is she really ‘a tart’?
• “I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.”
• At the end of the novel, what does her loneliness cause?


• Summarise your findings.
• As a guide, think about writing one or two sentences for each paragraph in the main body of your essay.

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