Of Mice and Men

Cassie This book is amazing. I seriously put it up there with books like To Kill a Mockingbird moral-wise. A lot of high schoolers read this as part of English class (in the US at least) but if you haven't, I really suggest you do. It's brilliant in all ways possible.

Author Critique
John Steinbeck is an amazingly vivid writer; I'm jealous of his talents. For example, this portion of the novel...

The resting horses nibbled the remaining wisps of hay, and they stamped their feet and they bit the wood of the mangers and rattled the halter chains. The afternoon sun sliced in through the cracks of the barn walls and lay in bright lines on the hay. There was the buzz of flies in the air, the lazy afternoon humming.From outside came the clang of horseshoes on the playing peg.

See what I mean? You can picture exactly what he's talking about at all times. His use of imagery is astonishing. That isn’t even the most descriptive portion of the novel. His word choice is also great, as you can see. I love the phrase “sun slicing”. Those words just fit together perfectly. I truly think he is one of the top ten writers in history, no exaggeration.

Plot Critique
The story is estimated to be set in the 1930s, however no exact date is given. I love nostalgic things, so that interested me from the start. However, this isn’t the glitzy-Hollywood glam 1930s I’m used to. It tells the story of migrant workers trying to survive in the great depression.

For those of you who don’t know, migrant workers are workers who perform labor-oriented tasks on farms. They have no family, no possessions and for the most part no hope. It’s a really morbid life to live, at the time.

The two main characters, George and Lennie, are an exception. They have each other, and they travel together. They have a dream as well. They want to own their own farm. They want to have their own home, something they can actually call theirs. That may sound so trivial, but at the time just having a house was a luxury. The story basically tells their story as they try to reach their dream. I’m really giving an understatement of the plot, because it’s extremely captivating. With the themes of “isolation and loneliness”, this novel disguises complex, extremely important themes within simple content.

Character Critique
George- George is the brains in the group, and Steinbeck makes that very clear. By the end of the novel, you feel like George is one of your best friends. The depth he is described in is great, and I love that in a book. I want to feel like I know the characters. George basically takes care of Lennie, because he couldn’t live on his own. George makes a lot of sacrifices to be with Lennie, and I think that shows what a caring person he is.

Lennie- Lennie is “a little slow” to put it nicely. He obviously has some sort of mental disorder, but during the 1930s, it wouldn’t have been diagnosed. He has a one track mind and a short attention span. He can’t remember hardly anything. While you read the novel, you might actually forget he is a man and not a child. Steinbeck really develops not only his mental character, but his physical character as well. Lennie is big, to put it simply. He is actually compared to a bear in the beginning of the book. He isn’t threatening though, not at all. I like to think of him as a teddy bear more than anything!

Other Information
The story is full of twists, and I don’t want to give too much away. Lennie has a knack for getting in trouble, and unfortunately the trouble becomes very severe at the end of the novel. In fact, it becomes a matter of life and death. This extreme situation makes the theme of friendship very prominent in the novel. While reading it, you often ask yourself, I wonder if I would go that far for my best friend. I love books like that. A book can be a good book if the story is interesting. But for a book to be considered excellent, it has to make your question things. This book does that and more.
Posted on October 25th, 2007 at 09:03pm


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