Point Example Explanation - Steinbeck Example

Point Example Explanation (2)


When you are responding to an essay question, the Point Example Explanation method is one of the most efficient ways of organising your paragraphs. You begin by stating a simple point about the text and use a relevant piece of evidence to support that idea. It is also important to explain your reference by identifying the writer’s method or putting the quotation into your own words.

Using a worked example from John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”, this page will help you develop your ability to respond effectively to a text.

The Paragraph

Read through the following interpretation and see if you can identify the three main parts of the Point Example Explanation method:

Steinbeck presents Curley as an aggressive character who will certainly frighten the reader. For example, when he first meets George and Lennie in the bunkhouse, the writer describes how Curley “lashed his body around” towards the two men. The violent verb “lashed” is obviously very aggressive and reinforces the reader’s negative interpretation of the character. It also compares Curley to a vicious whip: fast moving and capable of causing tremendous physical pain. This metaphor strongly suggests Curley is a dangerous weapon. It should also be noted that a whip would have been used on the ranch to control the animals. For example, we are told about Slim’s skill as the jerkline skinner, whipping a fly off a mule from twenty yards. Therefore, “lashed” also suggests Curley is trying to control the men through force and fear. They are nothing but animals to him. Curley is clearly a character to be feared.

The paragraph might seem imposing, but it sticks to some very simple principles that you can use in your own essays.

The Point

A good point should act like a simple and direct introduction to the paragraph. You might be eager to show off your knowledge of the text and get the top grade, but you need to be patient and avoid squeezing in analysis too early because it may not make sense to the examiner.

Point Example Explanation - Steinbeck Diagram

Remember to focus on the key terms of the question!

The Example

You must support your argument with evidence, such as a quotation from the text. However, do not simply drag the reference into your paragraph without properly locating it within the story. Since you are supposed to demonstrate your understanding of the writer’s intention, this will help clarify the example’s meaning and its importance to your interpretation.

Of Mice and Men - Essay Title Analysis

Keep the example short and remember to use quotation marks! It is also important to note that there is no attempt to analyse the evidence. You can save the explanation for the next sentence.

The Explanation

The final part of this PEE paragraph is the explanation.

Most candidates will hurry to identify the writer’s method and comment that the image is a simile or it contains alliteration. However, it is more important to explain the image. If you look at this worked example, verb is mentioned at the start of the third sentence and metaphor is not even included until the fifth sentence. It is more important to explain the image.

In the explanation section of the paragraph, you might need to explain the meaning of the image in your own words. By paraphrasing the quotation, you are demonstrating that you understand the story. You might need to explain the importance of the image within the overall text or some context could also help reinforce your argument.

Notice how this example defines a whip and then refers to its use on the ranch. Once the image has been explored in detail, you can then apply its significance to the character and deliver a more coherent interpretation of the text.

Of Mice and Men - Essay Style Example

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