In writing a longer essay about Of Mice and Men, what are some possible topics and structures I could use?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

If your discussion is to include researched material, the ease with which you will be able to write on an extended topic will increase.

For example, if you compare Lennie's condition to modern day expectations of rights for the mentally disabled, this story would have had an entirely different outcome. In order to do this, write a series of paragraphs with these topics:

  • identification of Lennie's condition
  • effects of Lennie's condition on himself (beginning to end)
  • effects of Lennie's condition on others (beginning to end)
  • current rights and support provided for Lennie's condition
  • how Steinbeck's story would change if Lennie lived today (only in terms of Lennie's condition, don't change the setting or characters)
  • how lessons learned in the book would change
  • conclude with the value of the book in its original form and cite it as a timeless classic

If there is no opportunity for research, I would suggest writing about the various avenues man will search in order to find fulfillment. This story is certainly about lonliness, but through characterization, Steinbeck demonstrates each person longs for something different.

  • Crooks longs for racial acceptance and friendship
  • Curley's wife longs for recognition for her abilities
  • Curley longs for respect from the other men
  • Lennie wants to pet soft things without getting in trouble
  • George needs relief from babysitting Lennie
  • Candy wants companionship

For all of these characters, they try to find ways to fulfill their own needs and wants, but the only content character seems to be Slim. As he lives in his contentedness, he tries to impress on and exemplify to others a life fulfilled. A good conclusion would express that during this era of the American Dream, Americans still struggled with self-gratification. We always want more than what we have. Slim modeled happiness in the journey of life.

Attached are some links with additional topics.



See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team