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Essay/Term paper: Of mice and men: mini-critique

Essay, term paper, research paper:  World Literature

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Of Mice and Men: Mini-Critique


John Steinbeck was born in Salinas California on February 27, 1902. His
mother was a school teacher in the public school in Salinas. Steinbeck grew up
in the beautiful Salinas Valley which furnished most of the material for his
novels. His mother read to him, at an early age, famous literature of the world
which planted a seed in his imagination. He entered Stanford in 1920, remaining
there until 1925 but never graduating. In 1930 Steinbeck married Carol Henning.
Steinbeck died in 1968.
After college, Steinbeck moved to New York, where he worked briefly for
the old New York American newspaper and helped with the construction of Madison
Square Garden. His first book, Cup of Gold (1929), appeared two months before
the stock market crash and sold about fifteen hundred copies. Steinbeck
returned to California, living in migrant worker camps to furnish inspiration
for writing novels that described the problems and stresses of the times.
Of Mice and Men takes place during the great depression in the Salinas
Valley, California. It is a story about two farm-hands, George Milton and his
large retarded friend, Lennie Small. George and Lennie are on their way to a
farm that has harvesting jobs available. While camped along side a river George
and Lennie talk about their dreams of someday owning a farm with rabbits for
Lennie to take care of. The next day George convinces the farm boss to hire
Lennie and him. Lennie's Love for feeling soft things becomes a problem when he
is playing with a puppy and accidentally kills it. The wife of Curley, the
boss's son, comes into the barn to talk to Lennie. The climax comes when
Curley's wife lets Lennie feel her hair, but he strokes it too hard and she
becomes scared. Lennie holds her tightly to keep her from screaming and ends up
breaking her neck. The resolution of the story happens when George shoots
Lennie through the back of the head. George does this for Lennie's own good.
The main theme of the story is that, no matter how lowly on the social scale,
everyone has the unalienable right to pursue their individual dreams. While the
value of friendship is another strong point that comes through in the book.
Magill, Frank N. "Of Mice and Men" Masterpieces of American Literature. Harper
Collins Publishers, 1993. "[Of Mice and Men] is perhaps the finest expression of
the writers lifelong sympathy for abused common people." Roberts, James L.
Cliffs Notes on Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Lincon, Nebraska: Cliffs Notes
Inc., 1966. "Part of Steinbeck's greatness lies in his ability to capture [the]
tone of basic reality."
Of Mice and Men is based solely on the events that transpired in the
Salinas Valley during the great depression. The story accurately shows what
life was like among most people just trying to survive. John Steinbeck actually
lived as a migrant worker during the depression, this is how he managed to so
truthfully portray the lives of the people who were simply striving to make
their lives better.

Works Cited

Author Background

Hart, James D. "Steinbeck, John" The Oxford Companion to American Literature.
Oxford University Press, 1983.

Salzman, Jack "Steinbeck, John" The Cambridge Book of American Literature.
Cambridge University Press.

Plot Analysis

Magill, Frank N. "Of Mice and Men" Masterpieces of American Literature. Harper
Collins Publishers, 1993.

Roberts, James L. Cliffs Notes on Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Lincon,
Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc., 1966.

Criticisms

Magill, Frank N. "Of Mice and Men" Masterpieces of American Literature. Harper
Collins Publishers, 1993.

Roberts, James L. Cliffs Notes on Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Lincon,
Nebraska: Cliffs Notes Inc., 1966.

Historical Perspective

"Depressions and Recessions" The Book of Knowledge. Grollier Incorporated, 1993.


"United States of America, The: History" Colliers Encyclopedia. MacMillan
Educational Company, 1990.

 

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