Text of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I. John Steinbeck:
Of Mice and Menby John Steinbeck
I. John Steinbeck:
-born in 1902 in Salinas, California-used this setting as the backdrop for many of his novels-attended Stanford but did not graduate
-worked at various jobs to survive including fruit picking, care taking and journalist.
-first successful novel was published in 1935 (Tortilla Flat)-1936 published Of Mice and Men.
-won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for his novel The Grapes of Wrath which is about one familys 1930s migration from the dust bowl in Oklahoma to the promised land of California.
-married in 1930, divorced in 1942.-1962 won the Nobel Prize for Literature-1968 died in New York City.
II. Steinbecks Writings:
-he emphasized the need for humans to be in partnership with nature.
-his characters are the outcasts of society, poor, uneducated and often rebellious.
III. The Novel
1. Themes to look for:Economic hardshipsDreams and hope lostAlienation of the individualRootless Americans (unwanted)Isolation from society (drifters)Mans need to belong
Tracking Overall ThemeHumans need to belong some-where and to someone. Steinbeck emphasizes that people have dreams and that they have a right to achieve modest goals. However, the world beats down people and dooms their dreams and isolates them from society and each other.
*Make sure to track that theme and the characters that display that in the novel for a possible timed writing
2. SettingMid-state California Region is heavily farmed and rural1930s, Great Depression
Causes of The DepressionUnequal distribution of WealthWar DebtStock Market crash of 1929
Effects of The DepressionWidespread hunger, unemploymentWorldwide economic crisis
Farm life during the DepressionMidwest Drought and Dust BowlMigrant workers traveled to find places to work
Town of WeedPlace where George and Lennie originally workedTowns name suggests something unwanted a parallel to the theme of unwanted human beingsnotice who is unwanted in novel
3. Title of novelTitle is a literary allusion taken from Robert Burns poem To a Mouse The poem deals with a plowmans accidental killing of a mouses nest.
Burns summarizes the situation of the poor mouse by saying: The best laid schemes o mice an men/Gang aft agley (Scottish saying that means plans often go astray). The title draws back to the theme of dreams lostnotice whos dreams are lost in the novel