Of Mice and Men Theme Investigation Assignment

Investigations:

We give you one text that explores a number of themes, issues, and ideas. You choose two additional texts that relate to similar/related themes and ideas. You make observations that compare and contrast how the ideas are presented in the texts.

Themes in Of Mice and Men (according to Schmoop)

  • Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
  • Friendship
  • Isolation
  • Innocence
  • Freedom and Confinement
  • Justice
  • Visions of America
  • Violence
  • Prejudice
  • Weakness
  • Women and Femininity
  • Man and the Natural World

Start you investigation by selecting one of the themes above, or by reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ and identifying your own aspect of the text that you want to make the focus for your investigation.

Once you have your focus, you want to come up with 3 Reading Questions. You will ask the same three questions of all three texts that you study. You’ll make observations and then compare and contrast what you noted. You’ll then take these points of similarity and different to draw a conclusion.

I’ll give you questions for 5 of the potential topics. You don’t have to use them. You may develop your own based on these themes or another of your choosing.

  • Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

    1. What do the characters dream about and hope for in this text? Where do these dreams and hopes come from?
    2. What stands in the way of these dreams and hopes?
    3. Do the characters attain their dreams and hopes? What does their attainment, or lack thereof, show more about the characters? What does it show about the society that they live in?

  • Justice

    1. Is the society depicted in the text a just society? How is justice, or injustice, depicted?
    2. Who holds the power in the society depicted in the text? What is the extent of their power and how do they wield it?
    3. Where are the most significant characters positioned in terms of the hierarchy of power depicted in the text? How does their relative position impact them?

  • Prejudice

    1. What are examples of prejudices depicted in the text? Where do the prejudices come from? Are they depicted as widespread?
    2. How do the prejudices impact the characters? Do any characters realise and overcome their prejudices? If so, what does it take for them to be able to do so?
    3. What does the text offer us to think about in terms of prejudice in the society we live in? How is the prejudice depicted in the text similar to or the same as what is around us? What is different about it?

  • Women and Femininity

    1. Who are the key female characters in the text? What are these characters’ roles in the text and how are they depicted? Do the female characters come across as rich, complex and authentic characters or are they one or two dimensional?
    2. What are the societal expectations placed on the female characters within the text? Is society depicted as fair and equal to women? How do the female characters respond to their society’s expectations?
    3. What does the text present as positive aspects of female characters and femininity? What does it present as negative aspects?

  • Friendship

    1. What are the key friendships in the text? What are these friendships based upon and how are they depicted?
    2. Does the text only show genuine friendship, pure or are there flaws as well? What does the text show about the nature of friendships, both genuine and flawed?
    3. How does friendship impact the plot of the story and the lives of the different characters? What does the text suggest about the nature and importance of friendship in people’s lives?

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