I need help writing an introduction for my essay on Of Mice and Men. The question is: Discuss how John Steinbeck explores the complex relationship between George and Lennie. What is Steinbeck...

I need help writing an introduction for my essay on Of Mice and Men. The question is: Discuss how John Steinbeck explores the complex relationship between George and Lennie. What is Steinbeck trying to prove about friendship with the characters George and Lennie?

And my essay discourses their co-dependence, their devotion to a better life, and Lennie's death.

Thank you!

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An introduction in an essay contains the following:

  • A "motivator," or "hook" that captures the reader's interest. This can be a relevant observation, a quotation, or a catchy turn of phrase.
  • Thesis statement - This contains the main idea of the essay. it is composed of the statement and a "blueprint."
  • "Blueprint" - This is a short list of the main points that you are about to propose in the essay. There will be three points, one for each topic sentences.
  • Central paragraphs - Each central paragraph supports the thesis. Much like a one-paragraph essay, there is in each paragraph the topic sentence that is supported with details from the novella and examples that are quoted.
  • Conclusion - This contains the reworded topic sentence which recalls the main ideas that have been supported.
  • "Clincher" - This is a final sentence or two that finishes the essay and provokes an extended thought.


[Motivator] Having witnessed so many displaced men during the Depression, men who were alone and disenfranchised, John Steinbeck became convinced that a fraternity of men would provide them much needed companionship and a strength not possible in their aloneness and alienation. Steinbeck himself wrote that the child-like Lennie was not to represent insanity, but the inarticulate and powerful yearning of all men.

[Thesis Statement] George Milton and Lennie Small unite in a friendship (1) that fortifies them both against others and (2) gives meaning to their lives as well as (3) the hope of a better life.

(1) Find examples of how George and Lennie's friendship protects them. For instance, George directs Lennie not to drink from the pool so he will not become ill, telling Lennie not to drink too fast. etc. George keeps Lennie from hurting others, but tells Lennie to fight back against Curley. ...."because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why." George protects Lennie from life in prison by shooting him.

(2) George and Lennie have each other with whom they can talk; as Crooks says, with someone else, a man has someone by whom he can measure himself. They share a dream of owning a ranch; they have someone to look out for each other. Together they save for a ranch. (Find passages that support with examples and details. Remember that the separateness of men is a dominate theme, so think how George and Lennie together fight this separateness.)

(3) The dream of owning a little farm allows the friends hope; it also provides the men with a reason to work and save in their dream of a better life. When Candy and Crooks want to come in, the dream seems even more possible.

mrsheinzelmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You may begin your essay with a hook of some sort to grab the reader's attention (a quote, an anecdote about friendship or dreams, etc.) or you can simply begin by introducing the title and author as well as a brief synopsis of who George and Lennie are, the background of the time period, and what they are doing (ie: seeking a  better life for themselves in the pursuit of their American Dream [the farm]).

Then continue by explaining that friendship is a complex idea, especially between George and Lennie, as without George, Lennie could not survive, and without Lennie, George would be alone in a world where it is every man for himself. As George says, "guys like us, we're the loneliest guys in the world". (I am sorry I do not own the book and so cannot give you a page number, but George tells Lennie this in the very beginning when they are settling in for night before traveling on to the ranch). Lennie responds by saying that they are different - they have each other ("But not us! I've got you and you've got me!" is Lennie's response).

Moreover, they are different in the fact that they have a dream: their little farm house where they will be able to live off the land and not have to depend on anyone for their income. Therefore, I believe Steinbeck is trying to delve into the fact that without friendship, the world would be a stark and lonely place Every character in the novel represents the theme of loneliness.

State your thesis last. Do not go into detail about your reasoning behind each thesis point, as that should be the focus of each body paragraph. Try something along the lines of, "John Steinbeck provides insight into the complexities of friendship through the characters of George Milton and Lennie Small. Through their co-dependence, their devotion to a better life, and Lennie's eventual death, Steinbeck shows the reader that friendship is at the heart of world in which we live."

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Of Mice and Men

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