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Barron's Booknotes-Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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TERM PAPER IDEAS

You may want to write a theme or term paper based on ideas presented in Of Mice and Men or suggested by the book. Here is a list of topics to help you plan your paper. The topics are arranged in four categoriescharacterization, symbolism, style or technique, and theme.

• CHARACTERIZATION
1. Discuss Lennie as both man and animal.
2. Examine the childlike qualities in Lennie.
3. Discuss why Candy and Crooks are the only two ranch hands who want to be part of George and Lennie's dream.
4. Examine the contrasting characters of Slim and Carlson.
5. Examine the roles of one or more minor characters.
6. Discuss the suitability of the various characters' names.
7. Describe ways that Steinbeck presents pairs of characters who complement each other.

• SYMBOLISM
1. Describe how the novel is related to the Cain and Abel story in the Bible.
2. Describe ways that Lennie and George's vision parallels the search for the Holy Grail.
3. Describe and explain the large number of hand references in the novel.
4. Discuss the view of women expressed in the novel.
5. Explain the importance of rabbits to Lennie.
6. Examine Candy and Crooks as symbols of isolation.
7. Discuss light and dark imagery in the novel.

• STYLE OR TECHNIQUE
1. Discuss the parallels between the killing of Candy's dog and Lennie.
2. Examine Steinbeck's use or overuse of foreshadowing.
3. Describe the poetic qualities of Steinbeck's language.
4. Decide whether the book is genuinely moving or overly sentimental, and back up your opinion.
5. Discuss the purpose and effect of the setting descriptions that open each chapter in the book.
6. Examine the playlike qualities of the novel. In what ways is it more like a play than a novel?
7. Contrast the novel and play versions of Of Mice and Men. What are some major differences between the two forms of the story? Why has Steinbeck made these differences?



• THEME
1. Discuss the theme of loneliness in the novel.
2. Examine George and Lennie as a single two-sided character.
3. Describe the symbiotic relationship between George and Lennie.
4. Discuss what George's life would be like without Lennie, and Lennie's without George.
5. Examine the concept of the ranch as a microcosm of American society.
6. Discuss George's motives in killing Lennie.
7. What is love like in the novel? Discuss the lack of what we would consider normal, loving relationships.
8. Describe the book as a response to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
9. Discuss the place of man within nature as expressed in the novel.

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Barron's Booknotes-Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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