Essay Writing For ‘Of Mice and Men’ Shape of an Essay Recommended length for an NCEA Level 2 Essay: • 6 paragraphs (Intro, 4 main body paragraphs, conclusion) • Paragraphs must follow SEXY structure to show level of understanding required. • One main idea/authorial technique discussed per paragraph. Today “The killing of Candy’s old dog foreshadowed Lennie’s death. Describe the two killings, explaining the similarities and differences between them.” • Describe = To give an account of something. • Explain = To make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible: to explain an obscure point. What themes can we link to this essay question? “The killing of Candy’s old dog foreshadowed Lennie’s death. Describe the two killings, explaining the similarities and differences between them.” • The predatory nature of human existence – Weak characters in ‘Of Mice and Men’ strive to destroy those who are even weaker than they. This is a cruel lesson that oppression does not only come from the hands of the strong or the powerful, but also from those who do not seem like threats. The novel suggests that the most visible kind of strength –oppression- is itself born of weakness. Candy’s dog and Lennie were victims of the society they lived in. America’s Great Depression had no place for the old or the weak, such as Candy’s dog. Lennie outlived his usefulness (his strength) when he murdered Curley’s wife. As he ceased to be useful, there was no place in this migrant world for him any longer. In the novel, before he shoots Candy’s dog, Carlson says, “If you want me to, I’ll put the old devil out of his misery right now and get it over with. Ain’t nothing left for him. Can’t eat, can’t see, can’t even walk without hurtin’ (…) We can’t sleep with him stinkin’ around here.” In this novel Carlson represents society’s opinion of the time. He is an example of a flat character; he exists only to make a statement. Steinbeck’s statement is that the predatory nature of human existence has no place for the weak. Their only use is that they can be oppressed to give others strength. Class Task: “The killing of Candy’s old dog foreshadowed Lennie’s death. Describe the two killings, explaining the similarities and differences between them.” • Write 4 paragraphs (1 has already been done for you) on the themes selected, linking them to the above essay question. • For each paragraph, follow the SEXY structure. • Remember statement… explanation… example (quote)… and why (why have you used your quote?) • When you have finished your paragraphs, go back and write your introductions and conclusions. • You will finish these for homework.