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Of Mice and Men Persuasive Essay

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Chelsea Russell

on 29 October 2015

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men Persuasive Essay

Of Mice and Men
Persuasive Essay

The purpose of this essay is to persuade your audience to agree with your position on a controversial subject.
Introduction: Attention Getters
A rhetorical question posed to the reader
a flashback
a description of how readers respond to the book
a shocking generalization
A quotation that ties in with and introduces your topic
Introduction: Example
When exactly is the right time to decide to end the suffering of a loved one? What does it take to make such a decision, and how would one ever truly know if he or she justified in doing so? These are the questions faced by George Milton at the end of John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men. After a seemingly endless string of mishaps and misadventures, George’s best friend, a large man with a mental disability named Lennie Small, finally makes the innocent but fatal mistake of killing a woman at the ranch where they work. As the men of the ranch frantically try to bring Lennie to justice, probably by killing him in cold blood, George must decide whether to try to escape with Lennie, turn him over to the men or the law, or end Lennie’s life quickly and peacefully himself. In the end, George makes the right decision in killing Lennie because __________________, ____________________, and ____________________.
This statement should clearly and strongly state what your essay is about. It is a two part thesis—make the statement
concisely list the 3 reasons why.
Support Paragraphs
Start with your topic sentence (Major Support), which focuses your paragraph on one supporting idea. Notice that the topic sentence begins with a transition that indicates that your argument has started. (One reason, to begin, first of all, first…)

Develop your paragraph with minor supports, giving reasons why this point is correct and using a quotation from the book to support it, if possible.
Notice that before the quotation, there is an introduction for the quotation so the reader understands its context, and that after the quotation, there is an explanation of why the quotation is relevant to the paragraph’s topic

End by connecting your paragraph back to your
with a final "clincher" sentence.

The key is to make the writing VIVID and DETAILED.
And, of course, make sure it is relevant to your topic.
Thesis Statement
Think of it as a ROAD MAP (GPS) for your essay!
George makes the right decision in killing Lennie because _________, _________ , and _________.
Make a sandwich!
Support Paragraphs: Example
One reason George was justified in his decision lies in the fact that Lennie simply cannot learn from his mistakes, dooming the two of them to a life of constant running while getting no closer to their dream of independence. From the beginning of the book, it is clear that Lennie repeatedly gets himself into trouble because of his lack of self-control. The obvious example of this is his habit of killing of his pet mice, which he literally loves to death by squeezing their fragile bodies to the breaking point. Despite George’s best efforts, Lennie simply never learns to handle them with more care. More serious, however, is Lennie’s inadvertent molestation of the girl in Weed. As they discuss the incident in chapter one, George’s concern over Lennie’s forgetfulness and lack of control is apparent when he says to Lennie, “Oh, so ya forgot that too, did ya? Well, I ain’t gonna remind ya, fear ya do it again” (7). George’s comment shows his concern that even bringing up the incident could make Lennie repeat the behavior since he can never remember what he does wrong in the first place. Given that by the end of the book Lennie has killed more mice, a puppy, and ultimately a woman, George knows better than anyone that Lennie is never going to get past his handicap, and probably will kill again, even if he doesn’t mean to do it. Therefore, he had to kill Lennie to protect both himself and others from his unfortunate friend’s destructive behavior.
Support Paragraphs: Quotation Introductions
What is a floating quotation?
Goals for introducing a quotation:

If you are quoting dialogue from a primary source, make sure the speaker is clear. For example, it is not clear to write: Hemingway writes, "Couldn't we live together, Brett? Couldn't we just live together?" (62).
The speaker of that quotation is Jake Barnes, so it would be clearer to the reader to write: Jake asks, "Couldn't we live together, Brett? Couldn't we just live together?" (Hemingway 62).

Make the sentence sound smooth and natural. The quotation should not interrupt the sentence or cause awkwardness. This example, on the other hand, integrates the quotation awkwardly:
The narrator describes Jake's injury as "a rotten way to be wounded and flying on a joke front like the Italian" (Hemingway 38).

What is awkward about this quotation?
Support Paragraphs: Methods for Introducing a Quotation
Method One:
Use an introductory phrase and a comma to introduce a quotation.

Brett says, "He wanted me to grow my hair out. Me, with long hair. I'd look so like hell" (Hemingway 246).

When Jake asks her about living together, Brett replies, "I don't think so. I'd just tromper [cheat on] you with everybody. You couldn't stand it" (Hemingway 62).

With this method, the quotation is usually a complete sentence; retain the capitalization of the first word.

The best introductory phrases will use verbs, as in "Hemingway writes" or "Brett insists." An introductory phrase without a verb, like "For example," does not always integrate smoothly.
Support Paragraphs: Methods for Introducing a Quotation
Method Two:
Use a complete sentence plus a colon to introduce a quotation.

Jake's first description of Brett Ashley shows her to embody the boyish sensuality of the 1920s: "Brett was damn good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's" (Hemingway 30).

Brett reveals to Jake that she rejected the bullfighter because she could predict his controlling tendencies: "He really wanted to marry me. So I couldn't go away from him, he said. He wanted to make it sure I could never go away from him" (Hemingway 246).

With this method, the quotation is usually a complete sentence; retain the capitalization of the first word.
Method Three:
Make a short part of the quotation a part of your own sentence.

Jake picks up a prostitute because he has a "vague sentimental idea that it would be nice to eat with some one," but the encounter is depressing and disappointing (Hemingway 24).

Although she is often asking Jake for money, Lady Brett Ashley has a title and is "of very good family" (Hemingway 59).

When you integrate a short part of a quotation into your own sentence, punctuate as you would any other sentence. There is no special punctuation required. Sometimes, the word "that" will help the sentence sound smoother.

Jake notes that "Brett was damn good-looking" (Hemingway 30).
Support Paragraphs: Methods for Introducing a Quotation
1) Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis, usually without the second part of the two part thesis. You’ll add that after this first sentence. Two things to always remember in your conclusion:
Be absolutely sure you don’t just repeat the thesis you used in your introduction.
Do not introduce any new information in your conclusion.

2) Briefly remind the reader of why you are right by summarizing your arguments. Be sure to state these briefly and differently than in your original thesis or support paragraphs or you will sound redundant.

3) End with the usual flair of the “So what?” conclusion. Tell the reader why they should care: give them something to think about, challenge them to do something in response to your paper, make a prediction, and/or connect them to your side of the argument.

Conclusion: Example
While the moral dilemma faced by George at the end of Of Mice and Men is problematic at best, a close examination of his actions and motivations reveals that he was justified in his decision to kill his best friend. Although Lennie probably was not responsible for his actions, his inability to learn and remember coupled with his great physical strength made him an ever-present threat to others. Further, (you’ll have to find your own argument here!). Finally, (nope, not this one either; find your own reasons!). In the final analysis, the moral quagmire that Steinbeck presents us with serves as a poignant reminder that each of us may someday hold another’s life in our hands. And when that day comes, the question will be the same as the one answered so decisively by George: Can I do the right thing?
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