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mice and men introductory background information
Transcript of mice and men introductory background information
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men
Set in the 1930s
During the Great Depression
On a small ranch in Soledad
near Salinas, CA
Born in Salinas, California in 1902.
His most famous books were written in the 1930s and 1940s, and they are set in California.
Steinbeck's books deal with the lives and problems of working people.
Many of the characters in his books are immigrants from Mexico or from other parts of the United States who went to California looking for work or a better life.
Images from the Great Depression
“the best laid schemes of
mice and men often
go astray.” - Robert Burns
High moral standards
Migrant worker who
dreams of owning a farm
Takes care of Lennie
Other Main Protagonist
Large in stature
Loves soft, furry animals
Acts like a child
George and Lennie
Candy- old man, lost hand;
friendly and helpful; afraid of
contributes money to the
friendly and compassionate
Curley-ranch boss’ son;
small, quick; very jealous
Curley’s wife -Steinbeck doesn't give her a name; lonely, roving eye
Loneliness and Companionship
This book shows how
loneliness is constant
throughout the world.
Only by beating this
loneliness can we find
= the American Dream of ownership
George and Lennie spend the night by the Salinas River and reflect on their escape from Weed and their new job at the ranch. They had to flee because Lennie had been caught touching a woman’s dress- he simply likes to touch “soft” things. George promises Lennie someday they will have their own farm.
At the ranch, the situation appears to be menacing and dangerous, especially when the pair are confronted by Curley—the boss's small-statured aggressive son with an inferiority complex and who dislikes larger men—leaving the gentle giant Lennie potentially vulnerable. Curley's flirtatious and provocative wife, to whom Lennie is instantly attracted, poses a problem as well.
Because of Lennie’s conflicts throughout the novel, George realizes that their dream of owning a farm is at an end. George tries to find Lennie, hoping he will be at the meeting place they designated at the start of the novel in case Lennie got into trouble, knowing that there is only one thing he can do to save Lennie from the painful death that Curley's lynch mob intends to deliver.
The Impossibility of Dreams
Everyone in the book has a dream
but many do not come true.
The most significant of all the
dreams is George and Lennie's.
This dream later becomes
Candy’s and Crooks’. They all
want to have a farm where they
would “live off the fatta the land."
The friendship between
George and Lennie, Carlson
and Slim, and Candy and
Crooks is shown
throughout the book.
=represent the false hope of a safe space
George and Lennie's Farm
= a symbol for their relationship, independence, comfort of ritual
= represents the fate awaiting anyone who has outlived
his or her purpose
Today, it's #4 on the American Library Association's list of most banned books of the 21st century
contains racial slurs
Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"
Of Mice and Men
is a fictional prose narrative ranging from fifty to one hundred pages in length.
It is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel!
Originally, it was conceived as a play!