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Reading Rhetorically

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. 1937. New York City: Triangle Book, 1937.

Quote or Summary Paraphrase or Summarize Rhetorical Device or Commentary

*Be sure to include page #’s or *Include at least five (5) paraphrases. Strategy/ Literary *Explain the effect of the device (connotations
parenthetical citation if using a source or associations)
other than the text. Elements *Explain how the device connects to the
*Label ALL the devices/strategies meaning of the passage or to the author’s
the writer employs purpose
“What’s your name?” The boss asks George what his George’s last name, Paradise Lost is a story
“George Milton.” (Steinbeck name was; George replies that Milton, is an allusion to the concerning the fall of man—Adam
41). his name is George Milton. author of Paradise Lost, and Eve sinned against God and
John Milton. were consequently kicked out of
the Garden of Eden. This story,
also found in the book of Genesis
in the Bible, shares many
similarities with Steinbeck’s novel.
Similarities include the actions of
imperfect humans, the presence
of temptation, and the
consequences of doing sinful
things. The author uses the
allusion to help the audience
relate to a familiar story.
“I’m George Milton. This here’s George introduces himself and This is an example of Lennie’s last name, Small, seems
Lennie Small.” Lennie Small to Carlson. paradox. unfitting, because Lennie is a very
“Glad ta meet ya,” Carlson said Carlson jokes that Lennie’s last large man. This irony about
again. “He ain’t very small.” He name is in stark contrast to his Lennie is much deeper: many
chuckled softly at his joke. physical appearance, for Lennie things in his life are paradoxical.
“Ain’t small at all,” he repeated. is no small man. He works much harder than any
(Steinbeck 64) other laborer, yet he is mentally
retarded. His strength is great, yet
he desires the simple things in life
—soft things and animals. He is
the underdog—the one the
readers feel sorry for and root for
—yet he is the cause of so much
“A few miles south of Soledad, The Salinas River, which is a This is an example of artful The first and last scenes of the
the Salinas River drops in close short distance from the town of syntax. book occur in the same place—on
to the hillside banks and runs Soledad, runs close to hills and the banks of the Salinas River.
deep and green.” (Steinbeck 7) is deep and green. The circular pattern of syntax
mirrors the circular pattern of
“The deep green pool of the Towards evening, the deep ranch hands. Men strive to
Salinas River was still in the green Salinas River is still. become bigger than themselves,
late afternoon.” (Steinbeck achieve wealth, seek a better life,
172) yet in the end, they are still lonely
men. The plot comes full circle.
“I seen the guys that go around While George describes his This is an example of While most ranch hands don’t
on the ranches alone. That relationship with Lennie to Slim, pathos. travel from job to job with a
ain’t no good. They don’t have George admits how lonely, companion, George has Lennie,
fun.” (Steinbeck 73) boring lives ranch hands lead and Lennie has George. The
without a partner. audience feels a sense of sadness
for the ranch hands. They have
no friends and have no fun.
Steinbeck uses this example to
illuminate the greater picture—all
human suffering. This novel
exposes the cruel, grueling life of
ranch hands, and this example
only adds to their anguish.
“I said what stake you got in this The boss asks George why he This is an example of The boss, Curley, and Slim all ask
guy? You takin’ his pay away answers for Lennie. He thinks repetition. George about his relations with
from him?” that George takes Lennie’s pay Lennie. They find it unusual for
“No, ‘course I ain’t. Why ya away from him. George two ranch hands to travel together.
think I’m sellin’ him out?” honestly denies taking Lennie’s The repetition of this question
“Well, I never seen one guy money and asks the boss why reinforces that the life of ranch
take so much trouble for he thinks George would do hands are lonely and rootless.
another guy. I just like to know that? The boss believes This relates to Steinbeck’s overall
what your interest is.” money is the motive because purpose for writing the novel: to
(Steinbeck 43) George takes on a lot of trouble expose the cruelty that humans
for Lennie. are forced to endure. Curley’s
“What the hell are you getting’ Curley asks George why he insinuation that George and
into it for?” answers for Lennie. George Lennie have a sexual relationship
“We travel together,” said replies that he and Lennie travel shows that Curley is a vulgar and
George coldy. together. Curley implies that cruel man. Slim’s inquiry shows
“Oh, so it’s that way.” they have sexual relations. that traveling with a companion
(Steinbeck 48) might help the ranch hands to
overcome loneliness.
“Funny how you an’ him string Slim kindly states how it is
along together.” It was Slim’s unusual that Lennie and
calm invitation to confidence. George travel together. George
“What’s funny about it?” asks why Slim finds that funny.
George demanded defensively. Slim replies that guys usually
“Oh, I dunno. Hardly none of don’t travel together.
the guys ever travel together.”
(Steinbeck 71)
“Well, it’s ten acres,” said George describes the house This is an example of a Lennie and George are just like
George. “Got a little win’mill. that he and Lennie desire to connection made by the Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.
Got a little shack on it an’ a own. It has a windmill, a shack, author to another book. In The Great Gatsby, the featured
chicken run.” (Steinbeck 100) and a chicken run. characters live in excess;
however, in Of Mice and Men, the
Lennie said softly, “We could Lennie wishes that one day featured characters live in dirt
live offa the fatta the lan’.” they could live off of the fat of poor conditions. No matter their
“We’d jus’ live there. We’d the land—live somewhere social or economic status, people
belong there.” (Steinbeck 101) where they belonged. still can’t achieve their dream.
Both stories contribute to the
impossibility of the American
“S’pose he took a powder and Crooks asks Lennie what would Within this quotation are Colloquialism illustrates the men’s
just ain’t coming back. What’ll happen if George went away. examples of colloquial lack of education. Their whole
you do then?” (Steinbeck 124) He knows Lennie depends diction and regional lives have been devoted to work,
upon George. dialect. with little or no education.
“They’ll take ya to the booby Crooks tells Lennie that they Steinbeck uses this to bring to
hatch. They’ll tie ya up with a would take Lennie to an asylum light the larger problems in society
collar, like a dog.” (Steinbeck and tie him up like a dog. at the time. The ranch hands’
126) rustic dialect reflects the setting of
the book and the lack of schooling
for the workers. Perhaps
Steinbeck is pushing for reform in
the realm of education as well.
“Curley’s wife lay on her back, After Lennie accidentally broken This is an example of Curley’s wife is now dead—lifeless
and she was half covered with her neck, Curley’s wife laid in passive voice. and helpless. This intentional use
hay.” (Steinbeck 160) the hay on her back. of passive voice allows Steinbeck
to communicate her weakness
and powerlessness. In this time
period—the early 1900’s—women
were second-class citizens.
Steinbeck points out the plight of
women of this time—they were
subordinate to their male
counterpart. Curley’s wife is never
mentioned by name within the
book. The effect of leaving her
nameless also highlights the rights
and expectations of women.
Essentially, they were to be of no
use to society.
“As happens sometimes, a The time following Curley’s Within this quotation are Polysyndeton mimics the setting.
moment settled and hovered wife’s murder seemed to stand examples of polysyndeton Using “and” allows the sentence to
and remained for much more still, to remain, to linger. and repetition. move at a slower pace and allows
than a moment. And sound the audience to absorb the
stopped and movement shocking event. Just as the
stopped for much, much more sentence seems to continue, so
than a moment.” does the “moment.” The repetition
of “more than a moment” conveys
the seriousness and length of the
time following Curley’s wife’s
A water snake glided smoothly A water snake swam through This is an example of The quote alludes to the snake in
up the pool, twisting its the pool of water, turning its allusion, symbolism, and the Garden of Eden. In Genesis,
periscope head from side to head from one side to the other. foreshadowing. the snake is the source of evil; the
side; and it swam the length of It swam near a heron, which audience knows that something
the pool and came to the legs of quickly plucked the snake out of bad is about to happen. Also, just
a motionless heron that stood in the water and swallowed it. as the heron unsuspectingly
the shallows. A silent head and seized the snake from the water,
beak lanced down and plucked George will also unsuspectingly
it out by the head, and the beak shoot Lennie. Lennie will be just
swallowed the little snake while as clueless about his imminent
its tail waved frantically. death as the snake was. The
(Steinbeck 172) snake’s death foreshadows
Lennie’s death and prepares the
reader for a devastating event
soon to happen.