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Of Mice and Men

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Jazmin Elloran

on 23 October 2014

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men

“A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool” (Steinbeck 1).

Mid 1930's near the Salinas River
The main characters George and Lennie begin their journey working in a ranch in North California
Exemplifies modernism because after the World War, trust in humanity was diminishing due to lack of resources
Time frame is during the Great Depression
1. Journal entry #1 – What is the setting of the novel?
3. Journal entry #3 - Describe the point of view and how it enhances the plot and theme
Third person omniscient pov
Enhances the plot and theme because the audience is able to have insight on multiple character's thoughts as well as their feelings towards a broad range of actions affecting them.
This pov explains why characters act and feel the way that they do
Pov accounts for a deeper meaning and more insight on characters
"God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want"( Steinbeck 87).
4. Journal entry #4 - What is the rising action (complication) that is developing the conflict
2. Journal entry #2 - Describe the mood and tone.
Tone is animosity
Developing theme because the audience is able to discover the emotional background of the characters and relate to his or her situation
Significant because it structures the personality of each character and his or her attitude
Mood is one of despair
Developing theme because audience is able to make his or her own inferences of the characters
Significant because it helps the audience understand character's mindset on a deeper level
By: Crystal McCullough
Breeland Adams
Jazmin Elloran
Kianna Peppers
Daisy Lopez
Gloria Roberson

Of Mice and Men
5. Journal entry #5 – Who is the main protagonist of the novel?
6. Journal entry #6 – Who or what force is the main antagonist of the novel?
7. Journal entry #7 – List the key symbols the author is using to help develop the theme.
8. Journal entry #8 - What metaphors or imagery does the author employ to develop characters, issues, plot, or the main idea of the novel?
9. Journal entry #9 - What is the theme of the novel?
10. Journal entry #10 – What is the turning point, falling action, the climax, and the resolution
11. Journal entry #11 – Discuss the theme and novel through the lens of feminism.
14. Journal entry #14 – Discuss the theme and novel through the lens of sociology, history, and politics.
15. Journal entry #15 – Study the life of John Steinbeck and discuss the autobiographical aspects of his life represented in the characters, plot, and theme.
Main antagonist: Curley
Antagonist Traits/Qualities: Angry, power hungry vindictive, and violent
He is a stout man who, according to one of his ranch hands, “is like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em because he aint a big guy” ( Stienbeck 26).
Curley is insecure about several aspects of his life because of his small stature and his wife’s wondering eyes, which is why he is constantly angry and overly confrontational. Every chance he gets, he attempts to start a fight with a big guy; this time, the big guy just happened to be Lennie, a man with the size and strength of a bear but the innocence and mind of a child

Lennie's Puppy: The migrant workers are abused by their surroundings and victimizes like small, dependent, fragile animals (strong over the weak). The death of the puppy forces Lennie to realize his own unfamiliar strength.

Death: The death of Lennie's mouse symbolizes the diminished outlook on life that migrant workers have

“After a moment the ancient dog walked lamely in through the open door. He gazed about with mild, half-blind eyes. He sniffed, and then lay down and put his head between his paws. Curley popped into the doorway again and stood looking into the room. The dog raised his head, but when Curely jerked out, the grizzled head sank to the floor again” (Steinbeck 37).
Metaphor: Lennie is an animal; he is overly trusting, but is defensive when attacked. He doesn't act according to social norms or standards

Issue: Abuse of power
“You ain't so little as mice. I didn't bounce you hard... He scooped a little hollow and laid the puppy in it and covered it over with hay, out of sight; but he continued to stare at the mound he had made” (Steinbeck 85).
The superficial pursuit of the american dream will lead
to nothing except for dissapointment and lonliness

Throughout the whole novel, Lennie and George cling to and gain hope from their dream that one day they will own their own farm

“Someday—[they're] gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs and—An' live off the fatta the lan'," An' have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we're gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it” ( Steinbeck 14).

The fact that there is only one woman in the novel and she is not only regarded with disdain from all the other characters, but she is also seen as someone else’s property.
Curley's wife is perceived as an object and seen only in negative light
The men refused engage in conversation with her or be respectful or even cordial toward her because they think that she is more trouble than she is worth. Upon first meeting George and Lennie, George calls her a “rat trap” and warns Lennie to “leave her be” ( Steinbeck 32).

The rising actions of the story are when Lennie accidentally crushes Curley's hand and kills the pup
Lennie accidentally crushing Curely's hand displays Lennie's uncontrollable strength
Lennie killing a puppy foreshadows the death of Curley's wife
“ The old man looked uneasily from George to Lennie, and then back. I jus' come there. I didn't hear nothing you guys was sayin'. A guy on a ranch don't never listen nor he don't ask no questions" (Steinbeck 24).

“That mouse ain’t fresh, Lennie; and besides, you’ve broke it pettin’ it. You get another mouse that’s fresh and I’ll let you keep it a little while” (Steinbeck 40).
Main Protagonist: George
George's qualities: Smart, Caring, Lean, Simplistic
Main Conflict: Trying to keep Lennie safe and out of trouble as well as ern enough money so that they can afford their farm
The trouble that Lennie has gotten in in the past hangs over George's head as a reminder of what could and has been keeping them from obtaining their "American Dream"
Pivotal Character: Lennie - George has to account for Lennie's actions and his dependent needs
“Well, he seen this girl in a red dress. Dumb like he is, he wants to touch ever'thing he likes....Well, this girl squawks and squaks. I was jus' a little bit off, and I heard all the yellin', so I comes running, an' by that time Lennie's so scared all he can think to do is jus' hold on” (Steinbeck 41).
Turning point: Lennie killing the puppy

“Lennie sat in the hay and looked at a little dead puppy that lay in front of him. Lennie looked at it for a long time, and then he put out his huge hand and stroked it stroked it clear from one end to the other” (Steinbeck 85).

Falling action: Curley's wife reassuring Lennie that the death of the puppy was not his fault

"Here—feel right here.’ She took Lennie’s hand and put it on her head. ‘Feel right aroun’ there an’ see how soft it is.’ Lennie’s big fingers fell to stroking her hair” (Steinbeck 90).


Climax: Lennie kills Curley's wife

“He shook her then, and he was angry with her. ‘Don’t you go yellin’,’ he said, and he shook her; and her body flopped like a fish. And then she was still, for Lennie had broken her neck” (Steinbeck 91).

Resolution: When the men realize the death they search for Lennie and revenge

"Lennie begged, ‘Le’s do it now. Le’s get that place now.’ ‘Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta.’ And George raise the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head." (Stienbeck 106)

California superficially seemed to be a haven, however it actually had gone through a depression
Extraneous farming activity caused soil to erode
Soil erosion and a seven year drought caused what is know as The Dust Bowl
Farmers moved to California to seek out better job opportunities (coinage of Okies)
“There is a path through the willows and among the sycamores, a path beaten hard by boys coming down from the ranches to swim in the deep pool, and beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water" (Steinbeck 2).

John Steinbeck lived in Salinas
Worked as a manual laborer
He believed working on a ranch, caused himself to create a mindset of “nothing to look ahead for” ( Steinbeck 15).
Dreamed of becoming a writer, which was a slow process - similar to Lennie and George's dream of owning a farm
The majority of his novels include characters with strong identification with the land
His father lost his job and then his other store failed - similar to how Lennie and George lost their original jobs
Married a woman named Carol, Steinbeck states, "Financially we are in a mess, but "spiratually" we ride the clouds "Nothing matters (Stienbeck 29).
Lennie and George's dream farm symbolizes idealistic living conditions. This dream represents the opposite of how the men are being treated in the story. Lennie and George are forced to find work to support themselves and endure having to work for a master. However, in their vision for the farm, the men are unrestricted and are able to make their own decisions.

.“You guys is just kiddin' yourself. You'll talk about it a hell of a lot, but you won't get no land. You'll br a swamper here till they take you out in a box. Hell, I seen too many guys. Lennie here'll quit an' be on the road in two, three weeks. Seems like ever' guy got land in his head” (Steinbeck 75).

Candy's Dog symbolizes the concept of all things must come to an end. The dog was killed cruelly in order to show that the weak must be desposed of. This concept scares Candy because he believes he will soon become useless and robbed of his job on the ranch.

“After a moment the ancient dog walked lamely in through the open door. He gazed about with mild, half-blind eyes. He sniffed, and then lay down and put his head between his paws. Curley popped into the doorway again and stood looking into the room. The dog raised his head, but when Curely jerked out, the grizzled head sank to the floor again” (Steinbeck 37).
John Steinbeck
1902- 1968
A significant issue is the topic of racism
Crooks - a black stable-hand is isolated from the rest of the group because of his race
When the men would play cards Crooks would be accused of cheating if he won and a bad player when he would lose
Forced to stay in the barn by himself
"I was born right here in Southern California. My old man had a chicken ranch, ‘bout ten acres. The white kids come to play at our place, an’ sometimes I went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice. My ‘ol man didn’t like that. I never knew till long later why he didn’t like that. But I know now." He hesitated, and when he spoke again his voice was softer. "There wasn’t another colored family for miles around. And now there ain’t a colored man on this ranch an’ there’s jus’ one family in Soledad" (Steinbeck 37).
"He was so little," said Lennie. "I was jus playin’ with him… an’ he made like he’s gonna bite me… an’ I made like I was gonna smack him … an’… an’ I done it. An’ then he was dead. " (Steinbeck 79)
Throughout the novel, Steinbeck compares Lennie to a furry creature that can be interpreted as either a dog or a bear.
For instance, "Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again" ( Steinbeck 9) or "Lennie covered his face with huge paws and bleated with terror."(Steinbeck 63)
Steinbeck copares Lennie to these animials to show that he means no harm, but the juxtaposition between the two levels of innocence elevates the story and prepares the reader for an unhappy ending.
Steinbeck doesn’t completely discourage the dream, he just gives a more realistic view of the hard transition from rags to riches. One might think that having a dream and working toward it is enough, but it isn’t, down the road one is bound to run into criticism and temptation as well as other setbacks just as Lennie and George did.
Though, a warning like this would be appropriate for someone who truly meant to cause trouble, it is not appropriate for Curley’s wife. Throughout the novel, Curley’s wife is never referred to as anything that isn’t either disrespectful, or ‘Curley’s wife’. So the reader instantly labels her as the villain assuming she actually is either truly a “tart” as the men said or just as evil as Curley.
"She’s gonna make a mess. They’s gonna be a bad mess about her. She’s a jail bait all set on the trigger. That Curley got his work cut out for him. Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl, specially like her." (Steinbeck 36)
Works Cited
"John Steinbeck." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Of Mice and Men Theme of Women and Femininity." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print.
"National Steinbeck Center." John Steinbeck Biography ::. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
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