Friday, 29 April 2011
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
*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.
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)
Challenges: Historical Fiction Challenge