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How do I start my essay on the theme of loneliness in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

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jyotsnajoy21 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:30 AM via web

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How do I start my essay on the theme of loneliness in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:34 AM (Answer #1)

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Since setting is extremely important to the themes of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, you may wish to make mention of the disenfranchisement of males that occurred as a result of the Great Depression.  These dispossessed men known as "bindle stiffs" rode the boxcars of trains, leaving their families as they searched for work in California.  Among these men are the characters of the novella, with Lennie Small as representative of these alienated men.  As Steinbeck himself wrote,

Lennie was not to represent insanity at all but the inarticulate and powerful yearning of all men.

After introducing the backdrop for the loneliness of men, you may wish to build a thesis around the fact that it is this desire to overcome the terrible alienation of their condition that the dispossessed men of the Depression seek the American Dream and the fraternity of men. 

In order to support your thesis statement about the condition of the alienated men, you can point to the passages in Of Mice and Men in which those who are alienated become aggressive, as George remarks to Slim that men who travel around alone become "mean"; of course, Curley's character illustrates the results of being disassociated from others.

Furthering the theme of loneliness and the efforts to escape it, George and Lennie find a contentment in the recital of their dream and in passages in which George speaks to Slim of his and Lennie's having each other. In addtion, Crooks's remarks about the importance of having someone by which to measure oneself as well as Candy's desire to join George and Lennie in their plan for owning a little farm help develop this theme.  All of these instances point to the "inarticulate and powerful yearning of all men" for fraternity (a theme).

Please see the links below for additional ideas.


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catlover1908 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:01 AM (Answer #3)

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You should go back and read what Crooks tells Lennie while they are in Crooks' room to come up with some ideas.

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cortiz8 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:57 AM (Answer #2)

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Start out with your intro paragraph(3 sentences): the first sentence should be something to grab the readers attention, the second should restate the prompt and the third should be your thesis/claim

Once you do this, begin to talk about the examples of loneliness and make sure to address the prompt or assignment given to you. Also, if you need more information on loneliness, I suggest checking out sparknotes 

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EndplaysMC | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:31 AM (Answer #4)

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Well u should always start with a capital and u should write something very catchy,my opinion.

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foreigninquiry | Student, Graduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM (Answer #5)

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I think you should start with a little review of the author and modernism.

and how the theme of loneliness has in fact to do with the alienation of authors at that time.

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