Of Mice and Men - Illustrating and Supporting Points
Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him.

Of Mice and Men - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz about John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men gives you the opportunity to test your skills in using evidence in support of a point. By highlighting evidence you strengthen your point, making your argument more persuasive. When writing an essay about a text, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three primary methods of using evidence in support of a point when writing about a text: by paraphrasing, by quoting single words or short phrases, or by quoting longer sections of text. Paraphrasing is very often neglected, but is an essential skill and very useful in this context.

Even if you don’t use direct quotation, paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of the text.

Quoting single words or short phrases is very effective in drawing attention to a specific choice of language. Remember that it is also possible to mix paraphrase and quotation in the same sentence. This is almost always better than writing long unwieldy sentences full of multiple quotations.

The final possibility is to quote a full sentence or more. This is often the best choice when the phrase on its own makes no sense or because you would like to discuss the longer quotation in close detail.

Remember: if you are using a single word which is not especially significant in itself, you do not normally need to use quotation marks. If you are using an exact phrase or sentence from the text, remember to put quotation marks around it.

See how you do with this quiz on the best way to use evidence from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Read the text from Of Mice and Men and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. The right answer will also be grammatically correct.
"'You're nuts.' Crooks was scornful. 'I seen hunderds of men come by on the road an' on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an' that same damn thing in their heads. Hunderds of them. They come, an' they quit an' go on; an' every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in their heads. An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it. Just like heaven.'"
"Heaven" means that land is impossible for the men to buy
By describing the shared dream of the men as "heaven", Crooks shows his despairing belief that both land and heaven are unattainable
Crooks is "scornful" because he doesn't believe in Lennie's dream
Crooks has seen hunderds and hunderds of men pass through the ranch and never buy any land
To quote a single word successfully, your point must be about the use of that specific word. The third answer is not a good example of using quotations because it is Crooks's disbelief in the dream which is the point, rather than the use of the word "scornful"
"The light climbed on out of the valley, and as it went, the tops of the mountains seemed to blaze with increasing brightness."
The last shining of the light which seems to "blaze with increasing brightness" contrasts with the darkness of George's deed
The last "blazing" of the light symbolises the last few shining moments of Lennie's life
The blazing "light" contrasts with the darkness falling in the valley
George's dark deed contrasts with the increasing brightness on the tops of the mountains
Remember that you must quote accurately. The second answer, for example, is incorrect because its quote is not accurate. The fourth fails to use quotation marks around an exact phrase
"George sat entranced with his own picture. When Candy spoke they both jumped as though they had been caught doing something reprehensible. Candy said, 'You know where's a place like that?'"
George sits entranced with a picture until Candy interrupts him with a question
The use of the term "picture" to describe George's dream emphasises its vividness
The place where George and Lennie hope to live is described as a "picture"
George is "entranced" with a "picture"
It's important not just to repeat what the text says, but to use the text in support of a specific point
"The old man squirmed uncomfortably. 'Well — hell! I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him.' He said proudly, 'You wouldn't think it to look at him now, but he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen.'"
Candy has had his old dog since it was a "pup"
Candy says his sheep dog is the "best damn sheep dog I ever seen"
Candy's pride in his former work as a shepherd is evident when he describes his dog as the best sheep dog he'd ever seen
Candy says his sheep dog is the "best damn sheep dog he's ever seen"
Remember, referring to the text in detail does not always mean using direct quotations. Sometimes paraphrasing is more appropriate in supporting a point. Do not quote merely for the sake of quoting; instead use quotes to back up your point with evidence
"The swamper stood up from his box. 'Know what I think?' George did not answer. 'Well, I think Curley's married...a tart.'"
Candy calls Curley's wife a "tart" because he likes to tell people what he "thinks"
The ellipsis in the sentence is because Candy can't think of the word to say
The ellipsis represents Candy hesitating to say what he "thinks"
The use of an ellipsis suggests that Candy is reluctant to call Curley's wife a "tart"
Sometimes you can make a good point by commenting on punctuation
"George's hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand."
George's snapping of the fingers combines with the use of the words "terrier", "ball" and "master" to characterise Lennie as animal-like
George's "snapping" of the "fingers" combines with the use of the words "terrier", "ball" and "master" to characterise Lennie as "animal-like"
George's snapping of the fingers combines with the use of the words terrier, ball and master to characterise Lennie as animal-like
George's snapping of the fingers combines with the use of the words terrier, "ball" and master to characterise Lennie as "animal-like"
It can be tricky deciding which words to quote. Remember that single words can be very significant, such as here, where Lennie is depicted as a dog reluctant to return its ball to its master. Several individual words combine to create this image
"The group burst into the clearing, and Curley was ahead. He saw Lennie lying on the sand. 'Got him, by God.' He went over and looked down at Lennie, and then he looked back at George. 'Right in the back of the head,' he said softly."
"Right in the back of the head" means that Curley thinks George's action is brave
Curley demonstrates his admiration for George when he praises him for shooting Lennie "right in the back of the head"
Curley thinks George is brave for shooting Lennie right in the back of the head
Curley admires George for shooting Lennie in the "back" of the head
Remember never to use a specific phrase from a text without using quotation marks
"Lennie sat in the hay and looked at a little dead puppy that lay in front of him. Lennie looked at it for a long time, and then he put out his huge hand and stroked it, stroked it clear from one end to the other."
The phrase "stroked it clear from one end to the other" emphasises how Lennie lingers sorrowfully over his dead puppy
The repetition of the word "stroked" emphasises the way Lennie lingers over his dead puppy
The juxtaposition of Lennie's "huge hand" with the gentle intention of his touch emphasises the tragedy of the puppy's death
All of the above
There are many correct ways to use evidence. Enjoy being creative!
"Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, looked over to George to see whether he had it just right. He pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes, the way George's hat was."
Lennie "pushed", "drew up his knees", "embraced" and "looked" at George
"Exactly" shows how observant Lennie is
Lennie wears his hat "over his eyes"
Lennie observes George closely, aiming to mimic the other man in such detail that he has it "just right"
Remember, quote with a purpose! The first and third answers, for example, do not give any new information
"Old Candy was watching her, fascinated. 'If you was to do that, we'd tell,' he said quietly. 'We'd tell about you framin' Crooks.'
'Tell and be damned,' she cried. 'Nobody'd listen to you, an' you know it. Nobody'd listen to you.'
Candy subsided. 'No...' he agreed. 'Nobody'd listen to us.'"
Candy is cowed by Curley's wife. He shows this by repeating her phrase that "nobody" would "listen"
Candy repeats Curley's wife's comment that "nobody would listen to them"
Candy is cowed by Curley's wife, submitting to her view that nobody would listen to men such as him
Candy repeats Curley's wife's comment that nobody would "listen" to men such as him
Paraphrasing can offer a simpler way of making a point sometimes
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Of Mice and Men

Author:  Sheri Smith

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