Discussion Topic

Writing an introduction for an essay on various themes in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

Summary:

To write an introduction for an essay on various themes in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, start by briefly mentioning the novel's setting and main characters. Introduce key themes such as friendship, loneliness, and the American Dream. Highlight how these themes are interwoven into the narrative, setting the stage for a deeper exploration in the essay's body paragraphs.

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How do I write an introduction for an essay on the theme of dreams in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

When writing an introduction, you want to make sure you have a clear thesis.  A thesis is a statement that tells the reader what you are writing about.  It should be one clear statement that directly addresses the prompt or topic.

There are many topics you could write about for this book.  I have provided you a sample thesis below so you can see how it works.

In Of Mice and Men, many characters pursue the American dream but are ultimately unsuccessful.

George and Lennie dream of buying a farm and tending rabbits.  Crooks dreams of having a space of his own.  Candy wants to participate in George and Lennie's dream.  None of these characters get what they want.

It is a good idea to begin with some kind of hook before your thesis.  Some people quote the book, and others tell anecdotes, which are brief, relevant personal stories.  It should be something related to your thesis and meaningful.  A good hook for this essay topic would be related to the American Dream concept.

Since the founding of America, people have attempted to find a piece of the American Dream by owning land.

Once you have chosen a topic and written a hook and a thesis, you have a few options depending on what your teachers wants.  Some teachers want a brief summary of the book in the introduction.  Make it no more than a few sentences.  Some teachers want you to preview your arguments.  Make sure you have planned your points and how you will support them.  Try not to be too repetitive, but previewing your argument lets the reader know what you will be talking about.

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How do I write an introductory paragraph for an essay on the theme of setting in Of Mice and Men?

Students often struggle with introductions (and conclusions). This is because introductions should prepare the reader for the topic to follow without getting too far into specifics. It requires a more generalized way of thinking, which is not usually the way we think of things—we always seem to want to jump into our points right away.

If I were writing an essay about setting in Of Mice of Men I would do a little thinking and jotting down before I actually started writing. What settings are you going to mention in the essay? What happens in those settings? I would think that the first place they camp for the night in chapter one would be a good setting to mention. That setting would work particularly well because Lennie and George return to it at the end of the book.

Also think about how Steinbeck uses his settings. What feelings or ideas do they convey? The first setting provides a feeling of peacefulness and then security for Lennie. How about the bunkhouse and house that the boss lives in? Or the barn or Crooks’ room?

With these ideas in mind I would start my essay with a general statement about the book that includes the title and author’s name. I would also include a sentence or two that very briefly describe the storyline (but don’t get too specific—keep it short and general). Finally, I’d cap off the introduction by saying something about how Steinbeck creates memorable settings that reflect on the plot and characters of the story. Then later in the essay I’d discuss the specific settings and what they contribute to the story.

Of course, if your teacher has asked you to include anything more specific in your introduction then make sure to do it. Many of my students lose points on essays because they don’t follow the instructions—sometimes they don’t even read the instructions.

Here’s an example of a similar introduction to an essay about settings in the book Animal Farm. Perhaps this will help:

Animal Farm is a fable by the British writer George Orwell. As an allegory for the Russian Revolution, it tells the story of an animal uprising on a farm. Orwell’s setting helps establish the animals’ motivation. When the reader sees that the animals live in poor conditions and that the owners’ farmhouse is rundown and ramshackle, it is easy to understand why the animals feel mistreated and finally decide to stage their rebellion. Later, the still deteriorating setting helps Orwell establish his main point that power tends to be abused by the powerful if they are allowed to reign unchecked.

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How would you begin an introduction for Of Mice and Men?

A solid introduction typically includes three main components: something to grab or pique the reader's interest, something to provide a thematic context for the essay, and the thesis or main argument(s) of the paper.

For an academic paper on a work of literature, the introduction must also include the title of the work and the author. This is typically done as part of the thesis statement, but it can also be done outside of the thesis statement if necessary to your thematic context or if your teacher has specifically asked you to separate them. When you mention these specs, you'll want to make sure you're using the right format. A literature paper will most likely use MLA format, but your teacher would be the one to make that decision. As an in-text citation in MLA format, that would be something like:

a) In John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men . . .

b) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck . . .

Often, an academic writer will choose to develop their introduction last, as the most effective introductions contain elements that are tied in throughout the essay. In this regard, what you say will depend largely on the thesis statement you develop. That said, how you structure what you say is fairly formulaic: attention-grabber, thematic context, thesis statement, transition sentence (optional; only include if necessary).

Begin with your thesis statement, even though it will be the last or penultimate sentence. Your thesis will likely make an argument or claim about a major theme in the story. Ask yourself: what is my claim, and about what theme is it arguing? Once you can answer those questions, you can start to make decisions about your attention-grabber and your thematic context.

If, for example, your thesis makes a claim about the theme of chasing dreams, your attention-grabber might be posing a question to your reader about their own dreams or making a philosophical statement about dreams. In either case, you reference the theme, but you do not yet address the novel or the claim you'll make.

From there, and keeping with the dream-theme hypothetical, you can establish the thematic context and start to warm your reader up to the fact that you're about to make a claim—perhaps introduce a controversy about the pursuit of dreams or an alternate interpretation of dreams. Your thematic context should be something that gives you a window of opportunity to state your thesis, something that you can easily connect to the novel, its theme, and your thesis statement.

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How would you begin an introduction for Of Mice and Men?

An introduction for John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men would need to include a description of the main characters, the setting (time and place) and the plot of the story. Therefore, an introduction would need to include the following information.

Characters needing to be named are Lennie Small, George Milton, Curley, Slim, Crooks, Candy, Carlson, and Curley's wife.

The setting includes both time the story takes place and where the story takes place. The story is set in the Salinas Valley (California) during the Great Depression (the 1930s).

The plot, simplistically, is about two men who are following their dreams to purchase land of their own and be their own bosses. The conflicts which arise are those which coincide with Lennie given his diminished mental capacity.

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