I’ll assume that most students would have been introduced to rhetorical analysis already.
The interchapters represent a stylistic tour de force on Steinbeck’s part, kind of the writerly equivalent of a jazz musician referencing Dixieland, swing, bop, and free jazz in a concept album.
What follows are two suggested AP writing assignments that could be done with the book to supplement whatever other literary or response-based approach you may choose.
As far as teaching to the test, the language exam has a number of qualities to recommend for it despite its necessarily superficial and abbreviated format.
That topic is explored in a number of short essays by eminent economists, philosophers and politicians entitled “Does the free market corrode moral character?
” available at the John Templeton Foundation website.Rhetorical analysis promotes close reading, and the interchapters lend themselves well to such analysis.They are rich in imagery and figurative language, widely range in tone, and employ syntax to varied and dramatic effect.Teachers could choose topics and passages for the students to integrate into an essay supplemented by material that they have found or that students locate through research.In addition to the skills involved in crafting a solidly argued synthesis essay, the assignment could have students meet a number of other goals.That close relationship is echoed in Chapter 12, the interchapter depicting the migrants’ “flight” along Route 66.Finally, in Chapter 16 Steinbeck gives nearly step-by-step instructions in how to replace a con-rod in 1925 Dodge that highlight the men’s intimate relationship with the machine.The synthesis essay calls on students to use research materials in forming a coherent argument; there are a number of topics in the novel that could be grouped with outside readings to provide the basis for such an essay.It’s an assignment that would lead students to examine the novel’s themes more thoroughly and explore their significance more deeply.However, the suggestions are offered in the spirit of providing some leads and examples.) In Chapter 5, the tractor is presented as an insect-like destructive force that rapes the land and separates its driver both from the land and the community.However, in Chapter 10, Al is described as closely in tune with the truck, monitoring it for problems.