Of Mice and Men

As we read Of Mice and Men, we're going to learn a little bit about the author, John Steinbeck, and about the important "stuff" that the book contains. This will be important in helping us understand the characters, the plot, and the setting as we're reading the book.

Your task is to get into 4 groups. In those groups, you are going to each research a little piece of the overall Of Mice and Men puzzle and then share this with the rest of the class. You, in essence, are going to teach each other for a bit. Below, you will find links and directions that correspond with your group number. For example, group #1 is to click on the Steinbeck link and research a little bit about his life. Each group needs to create a wiki page that provides your group's answers; the rest of the class will be taking notes on what you find.

You also need to make sure each member of your group has your group's answers filled out in their own packet. You will get a classwork grade for this!

Group #1 - You are now BIOGRAPHERS. Your job is to tell the class a little about the man who wrote Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck. Answer the following questions:
1) Author’s full name:
2) When and where was he born?
3) What education did he have? Did he go to college?
4) List 5 of his popular books:
5) What awards has he won (a brief list)?
6) When, and how, did he die?
The following links will help you do this: Wikipedia article on Steinbeck.
Nobel prize biography.
Article detailing Steinbeck's death.

You will also need to discuss your answer to this question with the class: Go to the following link: Controversy - and look under "reception." Do you think banning a book serves a purpose, or does it just get people more interested in reading it?

Group #2 - You are now GEOGRAPHERS. Your job is to tell the class about the setting of the book, both the location and the time period. Here are your questions:
1) Where does the book Of Mice and Men take place?
2) What type of work/business is that area known for?
3) What time period does the book take place in?
4) What was the “Dust Bowl”?
5) What were some other important things happening during this time period that might impact the book?
The following links will help you do this:
Wikipedia article on Salinas Valley.
What was happening during the time period the book is set in?
Article on the Dust Bowl.

You will also need to discuss your answer to this question with the class: Why is it important to know that Steinbeck grew up in Salinas Valley? How do you think this will impact the book?

Group #3 - You are now ANTHROPOLOGISTS. Your job is to tell the class more about migrant workers, the job that the main characters of the book, George and Lennie, have. Here are your questions:
1) What is a migrant worker?
2) Why might this lifestyle be tough?
3) What role do migrant workers play in today’s society?
4) What role do migrant workers play in Maine (think about seasonal employment)?
The following links will help you do this:
What is a migrant worker?
Why was life tough for them (look in the first 2 paragraphs)?
What about migrant workers in today's society (look towards the end)?

You will also need to discuss your answer to this question with the class: Make an inference - what type of life do you think George and Lennie are going to lead in the book? Money, ease of life, etc... Why do you think this?

Group #4 - Your job is to tell the class about some various interesting stuff. You will need to be able to direct the class in taking notes on what the title is from and what it might mean, what Lennie's disability means, and how many pencils Steinbeck used when writing his books. Here are your questions:
1) What is the title of the book from?
2) What is Lennie’s (one of the main characters) disability?
3) What might this disability say about how Lennie acts?
4) What will be tough for him to do?
5) What are some problems George (Lennie's "caregiver") might face?
What is the title from?
What is Lennie's disability?
How will his disability affect him?
How will it affect George, his caregiver?
You will also need to discuss your answer to this question with the class: Read over the text the title is taken from - what are some possible meanings of this title?