Of Mice and Men: In-class Essay

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Of Mice and Men: In-class Essay

John Steinbeck once said:
“It has always seemed strange to me…the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.”
After reading and viewing “Of Mice and Men,” explore this quote by choosing a character from the novel who displays the characteristics of “weakness” in the quote above and show contrast between that character and a character who shows qualities of “success” in the quote above. What makes these characters weak or successful? How do other characters in the novel view these characters and do they admire the qualities and produce of these characters?
Suggested outline for the paper:
Thesis: Your first sentence should name the novel and author. In addition to giving basic background information about the story, you need to re-state the quote and explain how Of Mice and Men has characters that illustrate Steinbeck’s point.
Paragraph one: Choose one character from the story who represents a character with the qualities of failure. Give relevant information from the story to show this character possesses the qualities in the quote. Use a direct quote from the play and cite the page number if you can.
Paragraph two: Choose another character from the story who demonstrates the qualities of success. Be sure to develop this paragraph with lots of text evidence as well. Use a direct quote here too.

Conclusion: This short paragraph should tie the paper together be re-stating the main points and leaving the impression of a proven thesis with the reader. You can talk about the last sentence in the quote and use the men on the ranch as an example of the “people” who admire the qualities of the first, but the produce of the second.



Partially Proficient


In Progress



(15 points)

The response is a logical and thoughtful analysis with strong evidence and explanations backing the thesis or topic sentence.

The response works to prove a point, but some parts may need more specific textual evidence or more specific explanations to link ideas.

The response lacks a clear direction or thesis. Not enough specific evidence is used to make a point or more evidence or explanation is needed.


(15 points)

The response has a clear topic sentence and introductory paragraph, two supporting paragraphs, each with textual evidence from the novel, and a concluding paragraph.

The response has a topic sentence, body paragraphs, and conclusion, but needs more supporting evidence from the novel(one quoted piece of textual evidence per body paragraph minimum).

The response is not in logical order. Ideas jump around and textual evidence is lacking. There is evidence of redundancy or no clear conclusion.

Style: word choice, voice, sentence fluency

(15 points)

All sentences are complete, the author’s voice and word choice work to explore the thesis specifically /explain evidence., and proper transitions show relationships between ideas.

All sentences are complete, but some word choices may be vague or the author’s voice may be inappropriate. The essay may need stronger transitions to link paragraphs or sentences.

Sentences are incomplete. Voice and word choice are inappropriate for the thesis, transitions may be lacking or nonexistent.

Proof Reading

(25 points)

It is clear that the writer took time to go back and read the response/ make necessary grammar and punctuation corrections.

The paper seems rushed and sloppy. There are several grammatical errors, punctuation errors, and some parts may not make any sense.

No-excuse errors exist. You will receive zero points in this category.

In-Text Citation

(30 points)

In-text citation follows at least one direct quote from the novel. MLA format is correct.

All direct quotes from the novel have in-text citation, but it is not in correct MLA format.

In –text citation is missing from the response or incomplete.

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