Dialectical Journal Assignment: Of Mice and Men
The purpose of a dialectical journal is to identify significant pieces of text and explain their
significance. It is another form of highlighting/annotating text and should be used to think
about, digest, summarize, question, clarify, critique, and remember what is read. It is a way to take notes on what is read, using the actual text, so that when you are asked to write an
essay or utilize the information from the text (possibly for a project), you do not have to reread the entire novel.
To set up a dialectical journal, draw a line down the center of your binder paper. On the left hand side of the page, title the column, “Note Taking.” On the right hand side of the page, title the column, “Note
Making.” The left hand column (Note Taking) is where you will write the sentence/s or phrase/s
from the text that illustrates a significant idea(CDs). Put quotation marks around the sentence/s to
show that they are someone else’s words. If the passage is more than one or two sentences,
you may abbreviate it in the following manner: Use an ellipsis or three dots in place of the words
that are missing at the end. In the right hand column, right next to the sentence/s or phrase/s that you chose, explain in your own words what is significant about the ideas represented in those sentence/s or phrase/s (give CM). Draw across the page underneath the entries so that the reader can see that they belong together.
Dialectical Journals earning a grade of 93-100 will have the following elements:
1. Cover all five chapters in Of Mice and Men.
2. Should have several quotes for each of the chapters.
3. Use meaningful and significant quotes related to the one of the novella’s themes: Alienation and Loneliness; Idealism vs. Reality; Friendship and Loyalty; the American Dream; Hopes and Dreams; Sense of Morality
5. Examines quotes in terms of themes and the quote’s significance to the book as a whole.
6. Applies literary terms to the novella—conflict, irony, foreshadowing, characterization, imagery, etc.
I will be collecting your composition notebooks on September 25 (white day) or September 26(green day), so make sure to bring them to class. You may also type your dialectical journal, but this is optional.
An example of a dialectical journal: