Friday, 29 April 2011

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

I'm reading Of Mice and Men constantly recently because I have an exam on it in 2 weeks, so I am probably the expert at the book at the moment. I know what every symbol means, why and what Steinbeck meant and wrote it. I feel happy about that in some ways but having to know every single little detail about the book does start to make yourself get put off by it hence my thoughts at the moment on the book:
*shivers* Urgh...Of Mice and Men...

Synopsis: The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to reign in his immense physical strength.
(From Goodreads.com)


Review: This is one of those books that everyone should read and certainly comes under the category of a classic like Pride and Prejudice. It is interesting, engaging and from the first read, you will cry or feel upset at the end. Some of the people in my class read ahead last year and they said the ending is so sad. Me being the typical book reader didn't read ahead and let me say...there were a couple of tears in our class when it ended. Some hid however like a guy behind me sniffed, making me turn around and he looked at me then said in a choked voice 'What?' It made me smile but I totally agreed with his reaction. The end is definitely the killer punch.

By reading between the lines (like I have to) you find out more things through colour symbolism, pathetic fallacy (nature responding to what's happening in world) and constant metaphors meaning a variety of things.
The characters are well developed early on - the second Section. They all are completely believeable and represent different people in society at the time. Set in the 1930's in Soledad (means lonely in Spanish) in the Salinas Valley of California, it really is described how I could imagine it. In 1929, there was the Wall Street Crash where shares and money had no value at all and after the boom of America, there came the Depression which meant businesses went bankrupt, people had no jobs or money and everyone was on the 'bread line' (queuing for food). There was also the Dust Bowl in America where sand literally wiped out land and farms and caused farmers and workers, such as George and Lennie, to go west (yes, there is a song too...) towards California to find work on ranches doing labouring work. Steinbeck himself, also did this as a teenager and lived in Salinas where he also buried.

Of Mice and Men was supposed to be a play, but Steinbeck decided to write it as a novel first. However, one night, the manuscript was ripped to shreads when the family puppy got hold of it and erm...disposed of it. With only 3 months till publication, Steinbeck had to re-write it all from memory and therefore, it became a shorter novel. Although he was sketchy about what people would think of it, it was a worldwide success and he went on to write many more books about the iternant workers of America such as The Grapes of Wrath.

Overall, this book is a magical, enlightening and mostly entertaining book. For me, everyone should read it at some point in their lifes with the amount of pages there is - be is for your own pleasure or an exam...

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck
Pages: 168 (That was mine with some notes about author/book)
Publisher: Longman
Challenges: Historical Fiction Challenge

10 comments:

  1. I'm glad we did this as our exam novel, I really like it. Like Miss Davies-Jones is always telling us, you notice something new everytime you read it :)

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  2. I know! I was reading it over Easter and I found like 3 more things doing that and reminded me of a lot of the stuff we've learn.
    Me too...at least it's not something like Pride and Prejudice or Lord of the Flies which were the other choices :S

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  3. Meh x) I gotta be honest, I HATED Of Mice and Men. And I HATED The Red Pony, also by John Steinbeck. I don't think I will ever enjoy anything written by him because I learned to hate his works at an early age :P
    The only thing that I remember that was enjoyable when we did OMaM was writing a scene from the novel as a script. We did the part where Marylou goes to Buford and tells him that Lenny did something to her, I think. We had to read it out, and it was so ridiculous nobody could stop laughing.

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  4. To be honest, this was me trying to be positive about the whole thing and please my English teacher who LOVES it.
    I do think it's clever but I AM so sick of it. Meh, at least I can say I read it.

    Erm...Marylou? Buford? I don't think that happens in Of Mice and Men...maybe Red Pony like you mentioned? Ahh...CONFUSED.

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  5. lol, does your teacher read this? Oh goodness, I probably seem like an ungrateful student now x)
    Haha, no, I'm pretty adamant over the memory. Buford was the name of the sheriff(?) or maybe it was Curly's real name, I'm not sure if we made it up. Maybe I did mess up on Marylou, lemme look it up again x)
    Ah yes, the name we gave Curly's wife.

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  6. Ah that makes much more sense. Nice, although I liked the mystery of Curley's Wife having no name but understandable for a script.

    Oh haha no but I wrote an essay for coursework on Pride and Prejudice and in the conclusion, wrote I hated the book but it's good anyway and she crossed it out and put NO in big red letters so I feel bad now whenever I 'diss' a book she loves...and I have to love it for the exam. :)

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  7. this book is because you can learn many things about america in 1930s

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  8. This is probably my least favorite book in the world of books, but thanks for putting up this web page, because I'm doing a research paper on John Steinbeck :)

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  9. I know this is a weird question, but does anybody know the ISBN for this particular edition?

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    1. Here it is: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/john+steinbeck/jim+taylor/of+mice+and+men/3956995/

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