Inquiry-based learning helps students connect with a novel's themes prior to reading. It helps students see themes and ethical questions in a context separate from the novel as a whole; thus, students can make evaluations and connect with the text prior to reading.
Included in your purchase are three lengthy inquiry-based questions. They are based on three pivotal scenes (which require a difficult choice be made) from the novel, The Grapes of Wrath.
This is intended to be done before the students read the text, though it can still be done if they have just begun the novel.
I use these as group discussion pieces, though they would make great essay topics, too.
To learn more about what inquiry-based learning is, start here: http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/