Biographical Information and Novel Overview John Steinbeck and Of Mice and Men

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  • Biographical Information and Novel Overview John Steinbeck and Of Mice and Men
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  • Biography Born on February 27, 1902 Born and raised in Salinas, California Worked summers as a hired hand on a ranch Attended Stanford University Left in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York. Unsuccessful at this and returned to California.
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  • Biography 1929 Steinbeck publishes his first novel, Cup of Gold. Poorly received, as were his next few books. Married his first wife in 1930. Moved to Pacific Grove, California, where the people influenced his writing. Continued writing, but not successfully until 1935.
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  • Biography In 1935 Steinbeck published Tortilla Flat, the first of his works to gain any success. It was followed by Cannery Row, another success. In 1939, Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, the novel that won him the Pulitzer Prize. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature. - From John Steinbecks Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
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  • Biography Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception. Died on December 20, 1968 in New York City. His ashes were returned to Salinas, California.
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  • Of Mice and Men Written in 1937. Regarded by some as his greatest achievement. Part of a three-novel series about the plight of the California laboring class. The other novels were In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath.
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  • Of Mice and Men The title for Of Mice and Men came from a poem written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1785. The poem is titled To a Mouse, on turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough Steinbeck was inspired by two lines in the seventh stanza of the poem. The best-laid schemes o mice an men/ Gang aft agely, Roughly paraphrased, this means that even though we may plan for one thing, sometimes the things we plan fail to happen, or worse, things go terribly wrong.
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  • Of Mice and Men Historical Influences After World War I, many poor rural farmers from Great Plains States such as Oklahoma and Texas moved to California to find work in the fields. A recession following WWI led to a drop in the price of crops, so farmers had to produce more crops to earn the same amount of money.
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  • Of Mice and Men Historical Influences As a result of the need to produce more, many farmers bought more land, and subsequently invested in machinery to work that land. To make matters worse, the stock market crashed in 1929. Many farmers were unable to pay their debts and lost their property, forcing them to find other ways to support their families.
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  • Of Mice and Men Historical Influences Dust Bowl in the Plains States. The land was dry and unproductive. Farming was no longer a dependable way to support a family. Many families from these states packed up and moved to California. Known as Okies. Okies were often met with scorn from the California natives, which made their dislocation even more unpleasant.
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  • Of Mice and Men Historical Influences Of Mice and Men focuses on the plight of migrant workers such as those coming to California in the 1920s and 1930s.
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  • Of Mice and Men Plot Overview Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, come to California looking for work and dreaming of owning a farm of their own. The men find work, but Lennie, who is mentally handicapped, finds himself in trouble, and it is up to George to find a way out.
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  • Of Mice and Men - Characters Lennie a lumbering, childlike migrant worker. Slightly mentally disabled, Depends on George completely. George Lennies traveling companion. Devoted to caring for Lennie, although he claims otherwise. Candy the aging ranch handyman Curleys wife the only female character in the novel although she is not named. Represents the temptation of females in a male-dominated world. Crooks the black stable hand Curley the bosss son. Confrontational, mean spirited, and aggressive. Slim highly skilled mule driver Carlson ranch hand The Boss man in charge of the ranch and Curleys father Whit ranch hand
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  • Of Mice and Men Themes The Predatory Nature of Human Existence Fraternity and the Idealized Male Friendship The Impossibility of the American Dream A theme is a broad idea, or a message, conveyed in a piece of literature. Themes usually deal with life, society, or human nature. Most themes are not directly stated. They are usually implied or hinted at.
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  • Of Mice and Men - Motifs The Corrupting Power of Women Loneliness and Companionship Strength and Weakness A motif is a recurring idea, object, place, or statement in a piece of literature that helps develop the storys themes.
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  • Of Mice and Men - Symbols George and Lennies Farm Lennies Puppy Candys Dog Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.