Analyzing Steinbeck's Use of Foreshadowing to Create Mystery and Tension

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SWBAT analyze how an author's choices concerning how to order events (foreshadowing) create such effects as mystery, tension, or suspense by analyzing examples of foreshadowing in movies and finding evidence in Chapter 5. SWBAT analyze how complex characters in Of Mice and Men interact with other characters and advance the plot by answering comprehension questions on

Big Idea

Helping my students understand that Steinbeck is the master of foreshadowing which constantly invites the reader to predict and engage in his novella.


10 minutes

I project the activator which is on slides #1-2 on a power point presentation.  My students are instructed to make a chart of events in their life that were hints of events to follow. This will help prepare them for today's lesson by understanding how the elements of foreshadowing often occurs in their everyday life.  They write them on a three column chart that they draw in their journals:

1. Event

2. Clue it would happen

3. Outcome of the event

I check for understanding by circulating among the class and then asking a few students to share their chart with class by projecting it on the screen using a docucamera.  While sharing they explain how the event was a clue to the outcome. 

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

I begin this mini lesson by defining foreshadowing while I refer to slides #3-5 L.9-10.6.  This is a necessary review for my students,  especially those who have a learning disability and struggling with reading.

I know that from research, students learn abstract, new, and novel concepts more easily when they are presented in both verbal and visual form.  Have you ever asked yourself, "Why do students remember everything that's on television and forget what we lecture?" – because visual media helps students retain concepts and ideas.  Discussion or student to student discourse is also an essential activity for enhancing retention.  I have found that integrating media in my lessons offers both cognitive and affective experiences for my students. It can provoke discussion, and an assessment of their values.  In this activity it will surely get their attention! 

I now show a video of popular movie video clips that depict examples of foreshadowing.  After each clip, I pause the video and ask the class, "Why is this and example of foreshadowing?" 

Next I show slide #6 and facilitate a group discussion of the answers SL.9-10.1

Student Learning Activity

30 minutes

I facilitate the reading of Chapter 5 – pausing while asking for examples of foreshadowing, e.g. the scene in the barn begins with Lennie holding his puppy, now dead, and stroking it in the same way he stroked the dead mouse at the beginning of the story and then Curly's wife appears.  As I circulate around the class checking for understanding, students read sections independently followed by a discussion of how the order of these events create the tension and mystery that invites the reader to constantly predict the outcome RL.9-10.5.

I then explain that Steinbeck used the technique of foreshadowing where the reader can predict what will happen before it happens through hints through out the novella in the order of events. Curley's wife's death was foreshadowed by Lennie's reputation as someone who gets into trouble with woman and has little or no control of his own strength.  


Wrap Up

15 minutes

Formative Exit Ticket

To wrap up the lesson and get a foramtive assessment of what they've learned I end the lesson by giving a quiz.  After identifying several examples Steinbeck's use of foreshadowing, students use a lap top to take a Chapter 5 quiz on Socarative Chapter 5 quiz while using their text to cite evidence for their responses RL.9-10.1