Introduction to Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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Introduction to Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Slide 2 About the Author: Biography John Steinbeck BBorn Feb.27 1902 in Salinas, CA GGrew up working summers on nearby ranches with migrants, becoming aware of their harsh lives. AAttended Stanford University, but dropped out Slide 3 John Steinbecks Work Of Mice and Men was published in 1937 after a series of other failures Masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath about a family during the Great Depression. This epic novel won him a Pulitzer in 1940. Slide 4 STEINBECK S WRITING A.Steinbecks stories are based on fact. He wrote what he knew. B.His stories are often set in California and focus on detailed descriptions of nature. C.Steinbeck is known for humanizing the working class outcast or loser archetype. Slide 5 Marginalization to force a group of people to the margins of society Characters in this book are judged by their The Marginalized in OMAM Race Age Gender Intelligence Social Class Slide 6 Inspiration for the Title The title of the novella is adapted from a line in the poem To a Mouse, by Robert Burns The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry (astray, imperfectly, wrongly) Translation: No matter how carefully an idea is planned, something often goes wrong with it. Slide 7 SETTING: Salinas Valley, California (Steinbecks backyard) During the time of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl Slide 8 Slide 9 Migrant Workers in the 20s/30s Thousands of people migrated to California during this time period for the promise of a better climate, gold and The American Dream Many were disappointed when no jobs were available so migrant farming became popular men abandoned their families, moving from one farm to another, finding short term work based on the harvest seasons. Slide 10 Slide 11 The American Dream Set of ideals that are routed in the founding of the United States: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness - Declaration of Independence It is the belief that all people can achieve success and become upwardly mobile through hard work. Slide 12 A.Characterization: The process by which writers reveal their characters traits (qualities) Two Types: Direct characterization: The writer directly tells the reader what the character is like. ex. Jennifer was a bright and honest young lady. Slide 13 Indirect Characterization: The writer reveals character's traits indirectly with any combination of: Describing the characters appearance Dialogue (what they say!) Characters actions The effects of the characters actions on others The characters private thoughts Slide 14 CHARACTERS: LENNIE is physically large and extremely strong. As large as he is, he is mentally challenged, having the mentality and temperament of a small child. He is fiercely loyal to and dependent upon George Slide 15 CHARACTERS: George was a good friend to Lennie He was small of stature but wiry and well built He was frustrated with the task of having to take care of Lennie but had compassion and loyalty as well Slide 16 Writing Structure Steinbeck writes his book like a play. Think of the end of a chapter as the lights dimming on the stage and the beginning of each chapter as the lights coming up. Steinbeck establishes a new setting for each chapter change and he gives the audience a description of this location in the first few paragraphs. This is also why the chapters are not numbered. They simply indicate scene changes, but its all really one long passage. Slide 17 Concepts to Look For Symbols Rabbits Candys Dog Curley and Curleys Wife Lennie Sensitive Issues Racism Foul Language Slide 18 THEMES TO LOOK FOR The importance of friendship The struggles of loneliness The worth and purpose of an individual life Disillusionment (to free from illusion) of the American Dream Social injustice / prejudice

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