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They call this a story?
Of Mice And Men is one of the legends of American literature, telling an epic tale of two men and their tragic-Oh let me puke, this story (And I'll question the validity of that statement later) is boring, boring, boring, the villain is kinda non-existent and ridiculous flat, the characters are dull, the plot isn't engaging and it's just unpleasant to read.

Now may I question the validity of Of Mice And Men as a story, firstly, George does absolutely nothing to change his environment, he goes to the ranch and...sits on his ass for ninety pages, that is not a story, the protagonist does nothing to change the plot, he has a plan yes, and it may even be realistic, but it isn't a story, and that bothers me that people are supposed to read a non-story.

There's not a whole lot more I can say about this except how much I fucking despise Steinbeck as an author, yes I understand that being poor sucks major balls, you don't have to bend the rules of reality and pull a Diabolus Ex Machina out of your ass to end your stories. He does it in The Grapes Of Wrath, The Pearl, and this abomination, why would you do that bullshit once, not to mention three times? (If not more, I don't know his work that well.)

Please, explain to me how this piece of hogwash is in any way palatable or should be held up as an example of quality literature. (Yes I realize I'm being trollish, please rise above my poorly written anger and defeat me with cool logic and stunning wordplay, not YOU SUCK!!! FAEGOT!!!)
Are you sure George is the protagonist? I kinda thought it was Lenny. And a protagonist doesn't have to be changing the world around him, the conflict can be internal. The book didn't really have a villain.
comment #2566 LoniJay 20th May 10
While I don't agree with your approach, I agree with the sentiment behind it. Of Mice And Men doesn't have much point to it.
comment #2572 TheDireFlamingohawkrobin 20th May 10
@ Loni Jay, Hmmm, either way, my point still stands about them not doing much, and there wasn't any internal conflict either. Oh, and who is Curly then?

@ The Dire Flamingohawkrobin So, how would you change the approach to make it better? For the sake of posterity.
comment #2575 Phrederic 20th May 10
I am clapping, very, very slowly.

First of all, what villain are you referring to? Who is this elusive antagonist exactly?

Secondly just because a book did not have explosions and car-chases does not make it an invalid story. It simply makes it a story with out much exterior action. The book is about a man who is torn between his dreams and his emotional attachment to the thing standing in the way of them.

We call that Internal Conflict. It is used as a narrative device by good authors.
comment #2578 iwintheinternets? 21st May 10
Who's the villain (Or the closest approximation)? CURLEY! Or in my opinion, Steinbeck. Look this isn't an internal conflict, cause there's no internal dialogue, tell me one thing about George that the book doesn't say about him, SHOW, DON', TELL, apparently Steinbeck had never heard that little tidbit. And don't make assumptions about me, I like subtle works, which does not mean boring ones.

Oh, and how the fuck is Steinbeck a good author? His clever wordplay? His complex characters? His fantastic world building? His multi-faceted themes? Where are they, I'm having some trouble finding them.
comment #2585 Phrederic 21st May 10
I know from previous experience that you do not believe you are trolling, so I'm going to assume you are young and not just overwhelmingly ignorant.

Curley is not a villain. The story has no villain. Curley is simply another character. Don't tell me that there is no internal conflict becuase there's no internal dialouge. Not only is that the stupidest thing I have ever read, I think I became slightly less intelligent just reading it.

Steinback's style of writing is mundane and realistic. He takes no liberties with his words and uses language simply to tell a story. Read The Catcher In The Rye or One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. A great author does not have to use this SHOW, DON', TELL, rule which I presume you were taught at school.

And I am sure you do like subtle works. I never made any assumptions about you until this point.

I haven't read anything more by Steinback, so it wouldn't by wise of me to comment on his skills as an author, but in Of Mice And Men he more the sufficiently created a well-fleshed out atmosphere and setting. The emotional struggles of each character were in-depth and realistic. The heart wrenching struggle that George faces is superbly well-done. The moral dilemma the reader, and George, are met with at the story's conclusion is nothing short of Tearjerking.

So on the basis of this book, I would say that Yes, Steinback is a good author who communicates his ideas to the reader perfectly.
comment #2586 iwintheinternets? 21st May 10
Uh, how is this moral dilemma complex? It's Glurge to the nth degree, "Life's not fair", Well gee golly John, I've never heard that one before. It's a cheesy story that tried to captivate me, but was brought down by its characters, plot, dialogue, or setting. The world building isn't complex, it's California, Steinbeck lived in California, right near where the story took place, hell, he did the exact same work that George and Lenny did, that isn't brilliantly creative storytelling, that's writing an "about the author" on the dust jacket. You call the ending tearjerking, I call it a heartless attempt to make us give a fuck about a bland story.

Oh, and could you quit acting so pretentious, I'm not a child, I'm not a kid, I'm not wrong for having different opinions then you, just like you're not wrong for having different opinions then me.

p.s. Could you try answering my complaints instead of opening up a new front.
comment #2595 Phrederic 22nd May 10
Seeing as you aren't actually arguing any of the points I've brought up and have just sworn like a child and failed to take in anything that I have said I see no point in engaging in intellectual conversation with you.

Oh, and could you quit calling me pretentious, I am only seventeen, I'm not some elderly champagne sipping British man, I'm not pretentious for having different opinions to you. Note, however, that I can formulate mine intelligently and clearly without relying on swearing and writing in caps.

comment #2600 iwintheinternets? 23rd May 10
This is probably a case of Seinfeld is Unfunny applied to the Tearjerker moments in Of Mice and Men.
comment #2608 96.246.109.248 23rd May 10
@iwintheinternets? Whatever dude, just go then.

@96.246.109.248 But was that moment really inspiration for thousands of tearjerkers afterward? Cause my knowledge of Seinfeld Is Unfunny is a gradual build up of Up To Eleven ing tropes until the original trope seems understated and bland. So, to reiterate my question, was George blowing away Lenny a tearjerker that people have copied until its become a pretty average trope?
comment #2611 Phrederic 23rd May 10
Ok, I've been taking it easy on you because you're young but that takes the cake.

You don't know good literature and you never well. Your opinions are simple and uneducated and no one will ever care about or be influenced by them.

Please stop making unbelievably ignorant comments. "George blowing away Lenny" — he shot his best and only friend dead, you ignoramus, how would that make you feel? It is sad. It makes you cry. It. Is. A. Tear. Jerker.

Even if years of exposure to the cliche have eroded you into an emotionless lump of flesh surely you can appreciate that killing your best friend for the myraid of reasons explored in the novel is a big god damn deal?
comment #2614 iwintheinternets? 24th May 10
You're not really addressing Phrederic's points.
comment #2615 silver2195 24th May 10
Okay, I didn't care about George and Lenny because they weren't characters, they were plot devices with names. That's the problem with minimalist storytelling, you don't give a shit about any of the "characters", they're flat, boring, and their only personality traits are ones that relate to the plot, so no, I don't care if Plot Device A kills Plot Device B.

Of Mice And Men wasn't enlightening, wasn't entertaining, and wasn't even a technical marvel, why the hell is this regarded as a classic again?
comment #2621 Phrederic 24th May 10
Oh I see where you are coming from now. You dislike the minimalistic approach. Ok. I can relate to you more now, I was for a long time in the same situation.

I personally was very emotionally attached to the characters in that book because minimalism works for me in literature. But if it doesn't for you thats like us arguing over whether pie tastes good if i think it does and you think it doesn't.

But I do think that yo are severely underrating a great book. I hope one day you can at least appreciate it for what it is.
comment #2629 iwintheinternets? 25th May 10
@silver2195 - No, I never do. Dig it, bro.
comment #2630 iwintheinternets? 25th May 10
You know, just because it didn't enlighten or entertain YOU, doesn't necessarily mean it isn't a classic. And there's nothing wrong with beige prose. Perhaps you should say 'I dislike Steinbeck's style and this story did nothing for me' rather than 'Steinbeck is a terrible author and his work is a piece of crap'.
comment #2631 LoniJay 25th May 10
I'm not questioning why people like Steinbeck, I'm questioning his legend status, his books aren't really deep, they come already analyzed, the characters and world aren't well built, and the writing isn't a wonder. People like things for reasons beyond their actual qualities, but why is this considered to be a classic? Cause it's been taught for generations, and it's been taught for generations cause it's a classic, it bothers me that such...average writing is considered great literature.

Is it because Steinbeck is one of the few American authors living in the early twentieth century, cause that's bullshit.

@iwintheinternets? Well at least we've reached an understanding. And I thank you for it.

@Loni Jay But I think Steinbeck is legitimately shitty, plenty of things I like suck, but I don't say they're good, I say they're enjoyable. Steinbeck lacks technical skill, and that really bothers me.
comment #2634 Phrederic 25th May 10
The real reason he's a legend is because he was a Marxist.

Okay, maybe that was unfair, but I wasn't the first to suggest it.
comment #2637 silver2195 25th May 10
I'm a Marxist... :'(

And I agree with Loni Jay, this is your opinion and your attacks on his technical skill seem somewhat out of context, as though you are not used to this style of writing. Perhaps?
comment #2638 iwintheinternets? 26th May 10
Yah, and it's my opinion he sucks monkey cock, I have some evidence to support it, but it's mostly YMMV, so to those that like minimalist, Diabolus Ex Machina ridden, poorly plotted crap, Steinbeck is the guy for you!

@silver2195 Perhaps, though I thought he was Socialist, not Marxist.
comment #2644 Phrederic 26th May 10
The reason Steinbeck is a "legend" is that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. The Nobel Prize is like, the most reputated, internationally acknowledged decoration there is worldwide, which is unique a) in human history b) on this planet.

Besides, the Nobel Prize is worth 10 million Swedish Krona. That is about 1.4 million US dollar. Yeah baby, more than one million fucking bucks.

You heard right: people from overseas you don't even know give you 1.4 million dollar, and you don't even have to ask them. They just find out your adress and send you a letter asking you to accept it from them.

On a side note, the guy that hands it to you is not just any random guy or gal, like in the Oscar ceremony. It's the King of Sweden.

You don't believe all that? Well, it's true.

Usually no nation feels it has a surplus of these extremely cool guys called Nobel Prize Winners, so it is pretty safe to predict these guys will be put on a national pedestal and, as long as they do thing to seriously put their fellow people off, they will stay there till Kingdom Come.

Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize first, but that's only an American decoration on a national scale. Nobel Prize is another league ... the non-plus-ultra of international recognition.

Considering we have no contact to other populated planets, that's pretty impressive. The Nobel Prize could punch out the Oscar with his little left-hand finger, and send the Pulitzer home crying for his momma.

This is why John Steinbeck is an American "legend". So that's settled.
comment #2655 LordGro 27th May 10
Hmmm, well that's certainly interesting. I was hoping for more of an explanation for why his work is considered to be high quality, but this does explain a lot.

And what did he win the Nobel prize for?
comment #2657 Phrederic 27th May 10
..... I liked the novel. I mean, no, it didn't have a lot of outward plots per say, but it does have its merit. I mean, there's a reason that people study it in schools. It's probably a bit more subtle than any media modern readers are used to- thus why the story may seem flat and without conflict. But really, I wouldn't say it's a piece of shit. I read this book back in high school, and it introduced me to some themes that would show up later on in other novels. It introduces the Gentle Giant who unintentionally hurts people.

And really, saying that it's a bad novel because George doesn't try to change his environment is wishywashy. I don't see that logic. As far as I remember, George was portrayed like a realistic person- he just wanted to make bearable life for himself and for Lennie.

And Steinbeck won a Nobel Peace Prize in literature for his novels presumably because they were social criticisms that looked into the lives of farmer workers beyond the stereotypes.
comment #2664 LaCapitana 28th May 10
A bad story, stories involve change, they involve characters doing something, George is a background character, he's filler, he's a redshirt, they're the characters the protagonist interacts with. It may have been an interesting idea, but I don't think Steinbeck has the skills to back it up. And there's a fine line between being subtle and being boring and pretentious.

I see your point, but I read, watch, or listen to things for a story, not a diary, imagine reading the day-by-day account of an office drone. "Today I flirted with my co-worker and stole office supplies, the coffee was bad and my boss talked a lot." See? Not the most engaging plot, sure Of Mice And Men had a little more going on, but not enough.

And I meant what work did he win it for? Or are there lifetime achievement awards for literature.
comment #2667 Phrederic 28th May 10
[1] Here is the Other Wiki on it.

And not having a lot of plot doesn't mean something is not a good story. Sometime's the dialogue or characters are more important. As far as how much this applies to Of Miceand Men I don't know, but hey, I do remember that Lennie crushed Curly's hand, accidently killed Curly's wife, and there was an angry mob after him and his best friend shot him. That seems to be a lot of plot right there towards the end, anyway.
comment #2669 LaCapitana 28th May 10
La Capitana is right, some of the greatest stories ever written have not involved a lot of what you perceive as plot. Mostly it has been about character relationships and changes. But still OMAM has a lot of plot to it, anyway so that point is lame anyway (Not lame as in the playground meaning you know of, Google the correct word if you so wish)

Overall it's just an emotionally touching book. What more do you want? What more did you expect? And, of course, my biggest point - I'd like to see you do better.
comment #2676 iwintheinternets? 29th May 10
@La Capitana My point is the plot doesn't come from the protagonists really changing the world. Sure Lenny does all this stuff, but did Lenny really intend to do that stuff? He isn't really in control of his actions. In other words, I fell like the story is jerked along by some invisible hand of god (an evil, evil god), and not by the will of the protagonist.

@iwintheinternets?

"anyway so that point is lame anyway (Not lame as in the playground meaning you know of, Google the correct word if you so wish)"

Lame as in having a bad leg? "Overall it's just an emotionally touching book."

I didn't find it emotionally compelling, you and other people might.

"What more do you want?"

Good writing, interesting and complex characters, actual world building, a plot that isn't driven by Diabolus Ex Machina after Diabolus Ex Machina. So, in a way, I want good writing.

"And, of course, my biggest point - I'd like to see you do better."

You know what, in a couple of years, you might.
comment #2682 Phrederic 29th May 10
Ah! A budding author, eh? Why in a couple of years? If you are able to criticize Steinback now, surely you are ready to get published yourself. But if you're thinking of getting some wannabe Lord Of The Rings don't bother - no one wants to publish that fantasy bullshit after Eragon.

I am looking forward to reading some of your stuff, tbh. Do you have any of it online to read?
comment #2686 iwintheinternets? 29th May 10
Alright, so your argument that things got worse, but it wasn't the character's faults?

As far as I remember, it was kind of Lenny's fault he just kind of [[{Does Not Know His Own Strength} Didn't know his own strength]] and there was a bit of foreshadowing in the beginning when he killed the rabbit. Can you cite specific examples of how this was a Diablolus ex Machina?

Lenny and George weren't in complete control of their fates, and that's probably one of the points Steinbeck was trying to make. I mean, you can take reigns of your own fate as much as you can but there are always factors out of your control.

What IS your example of a good story? For me, a good story can come in many forms. While I didn't find Of Mice and Men to be one of my favorite books, I can admit that it does have it's merit as a piece that looks into the lives of farm workers.
comment #2687 LaCapitana 29th May 10
The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded not for the work of an author as a whole, not for a single specific work. From what I gather from The Other Wiki, the single work that had the most influence on his literary reputation, and thus on the Committee's decision, was "Grapes of Wrath".

The Committee justified the choice with Steinbeck's “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception” (taken from The Other Wiki).

It is also known that he answered a question wether he "really deserved the Nobel" with "Frankly, no." Take from that what you will.

You said you were "hoping for more of an explanation for why his work is considered to be high quality". Well, I thought so when I wrote my above post, which has a serious core, although it was told with much mockery (I admit).

However- “Oh let me puke” “boring, boring, boring” “the villain is kinda non-existent and ridiculous flat” „how much I fucking despise Steinbeck” “yes I understand that being poor sucks major balls” “this abomination“ “bullshit” “hogwash” “FAEGOT!!!” "he (Steinbeck) sucks monkey cock"

... You weren't seriously expecting people to start an earnest discussion with you, did you?
comment #2693 LordGro 30th May 10
P.S. First sentence in the post above certainly has one "not" too much: The Nobel Prize for Literature IS awarded for the work of an author as a whole.
comment #2694 LordGro 30th May 10
@iwintheinternets? I'm young and would rather foster my craft before I let people (deservedly) rip it a new asshole. I'll probably get some stuff out there, but I'd like to, y'know learn to right before writing. And I'm not thinking novels, I'm thinking screenplays.

@La Capitana Yeah, that's my point, and while it makes for an interesting concept, I believe it makes it a boring story, characters who are blown along by the winds of chance may be realistic, but hey, don't you want to read about characters that shape their own destiny? Heroes who don't take what the world gives them, men of valor who fight for a new life! If I want t see people who don't have control of their lives, I'll look out my window.

And since Lenny didn't really have consistent behavior, he could have just as easily let Curley's Wife go as choke her, he's not really a character, he's a plot device that can change the story however Steinbeck wishes.

Hmmm, good authors, well, it really depends on what I'm looking for, for world building, I would go to Tolkien or Martin, for characters I would go to Butcher, and for good writing, I would go to Gaiman (He annoys me at times, but he is a good writer). There's plenty of others out there, but at the top of my, I'd go with those. Now, those guys are by no means perfect, but they are entertaining, which Steinbeck isn't.

@Lord Gro I don't hate Steinbeck the man, I don't know Steinbeck the man, I know Steinbeck the author, and I loathe him, he's preachy, he's a poor writer, and he repeats himself repeatedly. I agree with his message, in a way, but his books were a terrible way of getting it across.

Um, I'm sorry if I use loaded words to get my point across, it's a simple way of getting my emotions to other people, and one of the few ways to get it across through print. I have some strong emotions about Steinbeck the author and I have decided to use those emotions in my review, I'm sorry if that bothers you, but honestly I'm not the first, or last person to do this. Don't use the excuse of "being polite" to hide how you feel, repression is bad, and we should always fight against it.
comment #2695 Phrederic 30th May 10
It's probably the same reason people think Shakespeare writes good literature. Maybe it's a "Good for its time" kind of thing?

By the way, a story doesn't have to be anything you said. You're probably used to a different type of story.
comment #3987 76.120.178.12 15th Aug 10
Wow. When I read through this entire thread, then came to the end of it, I was shocked to realize that the original post was a "review." It had no structure other than ranting.

There are a couple of claims I would like to address (sorry if I sound too reserved for you, Originator; not all people care for the axe and plow approach. I wanted to respond to, at the risk of having the originator judge me along with the rest of the world as lesser than him/herself, a couple of the responses this originator had to others. But first I'd like to say, how can anyone who wreaks out publicly to others their disdain, their "puke" and not expect others to respond THEIR way....if you are unwilling to warrant "reserved," "intelligible" responses, one can never win an argument with you anyway. You are creating a double standard. Just let me get to the points.

ORIGINATOR: "And don't make assumptions about me, I like subtle works, which does not mean boring ones."

First, I must say that in the abovementioned quote of the "reviewer," I believe you DO like "Subtle works..." and that you are probably a very intelligent person. But you seem also a very ANGRY person just in how you approach everything. Perhaps then, I may say here, that a book is only as powerful as its readers that have the insight to understand it. I will go no further judging your motives here, but let me say how OMAM meant something to me, and really, that is all anyone can expect.

Whether or not technical structure of the novel is valid is not the true premise of this or any other story one offers to the world, I look at a piece of writing from its emotional, psychological, and THEN technical POV. The book is not merely about farm workers, or some character that can blatantly rule his own world (the obsession with Diabulos Ex Machina) ...but anyone who is in a position of stagnancy who is trying to figure out how to make a life work for themselves.

Metaphorically speaking, George is the quiet budding hero, but until the end he does not know he can change his world, though painful as his choice/remedy is, and he finally does.

In that small observation to me as a child, I realized that each human being shares components of my emotional, psychological and spiritual apparatus; I was not alone in my personal, quiet desperation to make a change as a child (no need to spill my guts here)encased in my own life dilemmas. To discover this insight in a written story of someone else's is the catharsis for the reader.

Further, if Steinbeck won the Novel Prize, it is because he touched so many lives at a deeper level—much like my self; people who could identify with the conflicts withIN the characters that were carried through a "plot" much like we are carried through life.

I realize this is a small place to write a thesis so I'll go on with the rest of my review of the review, with the understanding (I hope) that you realize this is only a general response.

Secondly, a story involves change as I noted earlier, ONLY if the reader has the insight to see what is really happening beNEATH the plot—read between the lines:

"A bad story, stories involve change, they involve characters doing something, George is a background character, he's filler, he's a redshirt, they're the characters the protagonist interacts with. It may have been an interesting idea, but I don't think Steinbeck has the skills to back it up. And there's a fine line between being subtle and being boring and pretentious."

This story has changed many lives, maybe not yours, but many others. Why? Because in its most basic form, it made people realize that we all have such inner conflict to create a change at the risk of someone getting hurt, vs. staying the same. People all go through life with quiet desperation, but no one talks about it: Steinbeck did. People go through life wishing they could hurt mean Napoleanic people, without having to feel sorry: Steinbeck helped us with that. Sure, there are a myriad of writers that did the same, and many used flamboyance, action, power in their punch (much as your approach), but that does not mean Steinbeck is lesser than they.

OMAM is one of those books that DO change people from withIN; you don't have to see it, but you will experience it in the world. Even the caustic, judgmental approach give by the "Reviewer" will change someone's world: they will realize that some people are so bitter about something else, that they will vomit it on EVER Ything else....the Reviewer actually reminded me of Curley: same sarcasm, same anger, same bully-ish retorts...(spurring others to act likewise). But that is okay because we all learn from each other, and Steinbeck's approach is no different than any of us here.

I could say a lot more, but I go on and on....yes, to many aspects of this and any other discussion. Thank you all! This is the first time I came here, and I learned a lot and I am very excited that I did. I am founder of a site of writers/authors; if any of you would like to peruse it, please do: www.interntionalbookscafe.com. I spite of my own opinions, all of you sound very intelligent, and I enjoyed this greatly.
comment #4069 69.99.56.79 20th Aug 10
Oh, I'm sorry! I made many errors, including my definition of Diabulos Ex Machina, lol! I hope all of you intellectuals will "cut me some slack," here....
comment #4070 69.99.56.79 20th Aug 10
I wouldn't worry about us "intellectuals" doing much of anything, and I'm sorry you seemed to miss a lot of my points do to my aggressive writing style, books are my Serious Business, and (what I believe to be) bad authors getting a lot of credit and respect and fame over their more talented peers bothers me. Should I have toned it down? Maybe, but this is how I think about Steinbeck, I don't respect him, I don't like him, and I find his constant moralizing aggravating, believe me, I don't have a drop of hatred in my heart for his his fans (and I don't know where you got that), simply the mans work.
comment #4071 Phrederic 20th Aug 10
"books are my Serious Business"

Thanks for responding...Books are MY serious business, also. You moralize, only from a different perspective, but hey, we all have a right to our opinion. I hope you're not assuming you're the ONLY one in the serious business of books, nor the ONLY correct one in the business of life...Good luck to you in your "aggressive style:" I didn't miss your points, but you are blinded by them.
comment #4075 69.99.56.79 20th Aug 10
Blinded by points. Never heard that one before.
comment #4078 76.120.178.12 21st Aug 10
I know not everybody wants to hear my points, but guess what's beautiful about the internet? Everybody has a place for their opinion, and if you don't like mine, well there's a place for your opinion too.
comment #4086 Phrederic 21st Aug 10
That's true, at least until the facists win and your opinions start getting censored.
comment #4108 76.120.178.12 22nd Aug 10
Uh...sure? Don't know where that came from.
comment #4125 Phrederic 23rd Aug 10
It's been awhile since I've read OMAM, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm misremembering something. Firstly, all of your complaints seem to be lodged into what the story was about, or how it played out, rather than how it was written. You say that OMAM is boring. Now, is it boring because you didn't like the plot, or is it boring because you didn't like how the plot was written/paced? You can't blame an author for writing about something that you particularly didn't find interesting. I thought the setting was fairly uninteresting at the start myself, but once I had finished it I was drawn into the characters.

[Yeah, that's my point, and while it makes for an interesting concept, I believe it makes it a boring story, characters who are blown along by the winds of chance may be realistic, but hey, don't you want to read about characters that shape their own destiny? Heroes who don't take what the world gives them, men of valor who fight for a new life!] And this would be a boring story to me. A hero that has no grounds in reality and change or alter his destiny any way he wants? There is no realness there. The same way you may think OMAM is a nonstory, this would appear as a child's fantasy to me.

[And since Lenny didn't really have consistent behavior, he could have just as easily let Curley's Wife go as choke her, he's not really a character, he's a plot device that can change the story however Steinbeck wishes.] Actually, Lenny's behavior is fairy consistent, but as a character he evolves. Many of the characters in OMAM evolve. It's part of what makes the characters realistic. They don't remain the same static set of emotions feelings and thoughts.

Anyway, the ending really wasn't "pulled out of his ass", you can tell that George had been forced to go from farm to farm because of Lenny, and eventually something would come of it. (I believe he even alludes to ditching Lenny a few times.) If anything Curley's Wife was a plot device, and speaks to how women were viewed and written about during that team period. (She's the only female character, and has very little spoken lines.)

But ultimately why I wanted to respond is because your review is basically asking us to prove as to why something is good. You can't make someone like something. If you don't like it, that's fine. But it's your job as the reviewer to put the pieces together as to why it's bad.
comment #4134 69.199.30.18 24th Aug 10
What the story is about is a very important part of the story, add to that my dislike of his style, and you don't have a very good proposition.

Not a hero who gets what he wants, a hero who tries to get what he wants, George seemed like a very passive dull character to me.

Character Development, just because a character did something before that doesn't mean they'll do it again, I'm saying a happy ending could've been just as probable, and I'm tired of Steinbeck's tendency to Shoot The Shaggy Dog.

Kay, and I have said why it's bad multiple times, I also don't get this book, I don't get the point of this book, but I hate if for legitimately sloppy writing.
comment #4156 Phrederic 25th Aug 10
Actually, all you've done is given vague opinions as points of argument.

I can do it too, watch. It's a good book and has character development, and it's got legitimately intelligent writing.

Give examples of why.
comment #4161 69.199.30.18 26th Aug 10
No real Character Developmen, no real characters, George is The Everyman...and really nothing else, the characters voices are nonexistent, it's a minimalist story that delves into Purple Prose far to many times (The description of the landscapes and such), there are way to many characters that don't do shit, (What did Slim do?), the story didn't go anywhere, the moralizing didn't go anywhere, it's a Slice Of Life show that's barely large enough to whet your appetite. And the Diabolous Ex Machina ending, though that's more of a problem with Steinbeck than OMAM in particular.
comment #4164 Phrederic 26th Aug 10
This is the funniest review I've ever read.
comment #4198 Pumbelo 29th Aug 10
In a good way? Or in a "The poster is a complete idiot way"? Cause I prefer the first reason.
comment #4206 Phrederic 29th Aug 10
I have to say straight out that this review is not a very good one. The poster never explained any of the assertions he/she/it makes about the book, and even brought in irrelevant commentary on the Author's other works, which would have been better expressed as how the author did not do a good job in this book. There is nothing for the troper to engage with as the review is very superficial in it's criticism to the point where there is none; there is only a rant. The the writing is reprehensible and a pain to read as it is full of foul language, poor syntax, and childish behavior. There isn't even a mention about the plot, let alone the characters. Nothing of value was gained from reading this, and thus this review is useless for others looking for a critique on the novel. I give this review two thumbs down and urge tropers to steer clear of this tasteless and unpleasant read.
comment #4209 victorinox243 30th Aug 10
"There isn't even a mention about the plot, let alone the characters."

Okay, how many times have I stated that Lenny is a plot device and George is a dull flat character.

I'll continue, Crooks' plot line...didn't go anywhere, Pistol guy was the worst foreshadowing I've ever seen, and Curley is a blatant jerk. And Scarlett-Lady? Probably the best character in the book...in all of the one scene's she has anything to say.

Plot? I've called it a non-story many times, without interest in the characters you don't care what happens to them and the dull bland storytelling makes the entire thing unpleasant to read, it's a dry, dusty, preachy POS book.
comment #4230 Phrederic 30th Aug 10
Nobody cares how many times you stated that Lenny is a plot device and that George is a dull flat character. Tropers want to know WHY you are saying these words, and HOW does the elements of the book bring you to this conclusion. You have yet to EXPLAIN anything. Try again.
comment #4236 victorinox243 30th Aug 10
How is Lenny a plot device? His character is undeveloped (You never really get the feel for him, is he a well meaning Adult Child? I don't think so, even children can pick things up without breaking them, and Children do not do nothing when they're being attacked, and if he Does Not Know His Own Strength, how can he do farm work? Wouldn't the tools shatter in his hands, and he's clearly adult enough to experience desire, even if it's just his hormones, maybe he's Obfuscating Stupidity? Nope, unless he's the most devoted method actor ever, he would've broken character to stop his death. A Psychopathic Man Child? Well, he seems pretty kind, working with someone that's less effective than you are, and he has enough self control to listen to smarter friend. That's one part of him being a plot device, he's a wildly inconsistent character that can match the needs of the story however they need him, combine that with super strength to fix their problems and you have a walking Ex Machina, either Deus or Diabalous.

George is The Everyman, I don't see how I can expand on that, his goals are simple, his character meek or bold depending on the author's convenience, both somewhat calculating and rash in equal measure, he's a Standardized Leader, thoroughly stripped of any "controversial" traits that could scare people off. His opinions are soft, his demeanor, fluid.

Crooks came out of nowhere, didn't really help anyone with character development beyond giving Lenny a Pet The Dog moment that further blurs that mess of a character, if he's an innocent child that can look past racism, why is he stupid enough to try to get the Scarlett Woman to shut up by strangling her? Is he a wise child or a lumbering simpleton?

Pistol guy showed up, foreshadowed really, really obviously, and disappeared, another use of dressing up a plot device as a character.

Curley, is a tool, and his character didn't really have a point beyond Villainy!!!

Scarlett-Lady had depth, an interesting back story that raised some cool points and an interesting dynamic (If a bit cliche), assured stability vs. possible fame, I liked her character...before she got Stuffed In The Fridge.

The characters are one dimensional, flat, and only exist to move the plot along, this story is unnatural, and forced, characters traits are pulled from the writers ass. We all know that authors control everything, but we shouldn't feel that authors control everything, disbelief, not suspended.
comment #4256 Phrederic 31st Aug 10
"You can't blame an author for writing about something that you particularly didn't find interesting."

Yes you can. Books are supposed to be interesting.

Then again, it depends on how much you stress the "you particularly" part. The original reviewer seemed particularly incapable of allowing for other people's tastes to differ. Then again again, one can only go so far granting authors allowances. If you didn't like the book, you didn't like the book and are allowed to think—if only privately—the rest of humanity are suckers.
comment #4284 71.34.21.146 2nd Sep 10
Wait, when did I ever insult somebody for liking the book, if I did, I apologize, I'm not a Fan Hater, I'm a member of a Steinbeck Hatedom, there's a difference.
comment #4290 Phrederic 2nd Sep 10
Thanks for your reasoning, Phrederic.

And 71.34.21.146, I must point out that books don't have to be anything other than a collection of sheets—whether they be physical or not. You are entitled to your opinion on whether a piece is "interesting", but there is no rule that anything rendered in a certain medium must be "interesting" to the viewer, reader, listener, or Troper.
comment #4339 victorinox243 6th Sep 10
"I must point out that books don't have to be anything other than a collection of sheets...You are entitled to your opinion on whether a piece is 'interesting', but there is no rule that anything rendered in a certain medium must be 'interesting' to the viewer, reader, listener, or Troper."

There must be some misunderstanding. No piece has to be interesting to exist. Stories can be totally uninteresting and still be stories. They just won't be good stories. And that's the point. I responded to the assertion that one cannot blame an author for writing about something that I find uninteresting. Which has nothing to do with what constitutes a book or whether there's a "rule that anything rendered in a certain medium must be 'interesting'."

A book need not be anything other than a collection of sheets. However, a GOOD book, much less a good story, must be more (namely, interesting).
comment #4341 70.56.160.66 7th Sep 10
What, did you read this book for English class or something? Because that's what it sounds like.

I'm not going to argue with you on the quality on the book because I see alot of others already doing that. Just felt like I needed to clear something up.

Lennie doesn't break tools, because they are inanimate objects that don't try to escape from him. The reason he hurts so many people is because his first instinct when frightened is to grab on to something. I believe this was explained in the first chapter, when he talks about a mouse that he was petting. It bit him, he grew frightened and grabbed its head, and that was that.
comment #4460 Shroomy 17th Sep 10
Yes, and that does explain a lot of my anger at this book.

But surely those tools would have splinters and other ways of hurting him, and since Lenny seems to frighten easily, couldn't a neighing horse or loud noise scare him? And the problem isn't him grabbing them, it's his lack of self control, you can squeeze something without destroying it, Lenny can't.
comment #4467 Phrederic 17th Sep 10
What I meant by "frightened" is that he's afraid that the object will leave him. See, Lennie has the mentality of a child. Children aren't scared by loud noises, but just try taking a kid's favorite toy away. They'll hold on as hard as they can. Which usually isn't a problem, since they don't have a whole lot of strength. See what I'm getting at?

I must say that I think Lennie's motives are a lot simpler than you make them out to be. He has mental retardation. That's it.
comment #4468 Shroomy 17th Sep 10
My bitter English Student senses are tingling.
comment #4511 99.224.232.69 20th Sep 10
I'll grant that I haven't seen every single review on this site, Phrederic, but nonetheless, you seem to find it infinitely entertaining to rant about things you don't like and engage in prolonged, circular debate as a way of further expressing your distaste for them. You claim you're not a troll, but you do a very good job of acting like one. That's not a compliment. Regardless, let me review your review:

Phrederic's Of Mice And Men review is one of the highlights of TV Tropes, threading together critical analysis with subtle, deadpan hum— oh, give me a break, this review (and I'll question the validity of that statement later) is boring, boring, boring, the analysis is almost non-existent and ridiculously one-dimensional, the writing is unprofessional, the body of the text isn't engaging and it's just unpleasant to read.

Next I will question the validity of Phrederic's provocative essay as a review. Firstly, Phrederic does absolutely nothing to support his points, opting in favor of writing three paragraphs that rehash the same basic thesis over and over again. That's not a review, and Phrederic doesn't do anything to prove his thesis. He has a layout, yes, and it might even be feasible, but it isn't a review (it doesn't even contain proper grammar, a severe deficiency in a writer who claims he can do better) and it bothers me that he thinks we want to read his non-review.

There's not a whole lot more I can say about this except how much I dislike Phrederic as an author; yes, I understand that being a hateful pseudointellectual sucks balls, but you don't have to waste hours on textual masturbation just to make yourself feel valid. He does it in his World Of Darkness review, he does it in his Changeling The Lost comments, why would you do that bullshit once, let alone three times? (If not more, I don't know his work that well, possibly because he wants to 'hone his craft'. Is that what they're calling it now? I 'hone my craft' a lot at night when I'm feeling lonely.)

Please, explain to me how this piece of hogwash is in any way palatable or should be held up as an example of a good review. (omg yes i reelise im bein trollish, plz2rise abuv my purly ritten angr n defeet me w/ kul logic n stunning wurdpley, not OMG U SUCK!!! FAGET!!!)
comment #4569 ShadowWarden 26th Sep 10 (edited by: ShadowWarden)
Kay.
comment #4577 Phrederic 26th Sep 10
This is a doozy. I'm going to go ahead and put my opinion in here, because I haven't been using it enough on other people lately.

One of the book's most valuable traits are the fact that it is realistic, the events are plausible, and that only makes them that much more grim. It's nearly as difficult to sympathize with an extremely simple character as it is to sympathize with an omnipotent one, except you also get the added factor of pity.

The fact that it's mundane is what make so many of it's events that much more relatable. So many things could have been prevented, and so many were brought up by mundane chance and simple, minor human "flaws."

The Hope Spot in the middle was a touching addition, one that only made the ending that much more saddening. The foreshadowing was well-executed, and helped mentally prepare the reader for the moral impossibility brought on by the very idea of a "mercy kill."

It was a well-written story with characters defined to the point of maximum effectiveness. It helped define a few character archtypes, and the absolute mundanity, again, only drives the realism of the situation home.

By the way, writewhatyouknow is in no way a bad trope, it's somewhat comical that you use it as an insult. Your opinion of the trope would explain the review, though. You certainly averted it.
comment #4629 Kastorr 1st Oct 10
I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'm so glad that I think you should make a full review of the book, just...not on this particular comments page.

And while you see it as realistic and human, I see it as disgustingly simplified, human beings are more complicated than Lenny and George, maybe I'm not cynical enough, but the entire story is rather ridiculous, I couldn't take any of this seriously, Shocking Swerve after shocking swerve to try to get you to care about the story and the characters. "Un...damn, well, they're poor, uh, that isn't enough, well, one has a mental disability, and there's this big bad overseer who hates them, and everybody around them is mean or hurt or lonely, and there's an old man, and crippled black guy, and they're all friends! And they just wanna build a farm together!" Ugh.

You call that realistic? It has the cheesiness of Oscar bait combined with the poor writing of an after school special. It's Glurge with an annoyingly overplayed message. The characters were plot devices, I saw very little humanity or personality in any of the characters. A Song Of Fire And Ice has a better grasp on humanity then this book, it's soul crushingly depressing to, but you know, in a manner that makes way more sense, since all the bad things that happen are a result of the characters actions.

And mundane and simple isn't "realism", talk to somebody and try to plug them down if a sentence, you can't.
comment #4636 Phrederic 2nd Oct 10
Oh hey, it's Kastorr again here.

It seemed apparent that we did not learn everything possible about all the characters. There was emphasis on the simpler aspects of it, mostly because it was constantly being explained to Lennie. You could easily derive more complex characters from the information you had about these people.

It is entirely likely that you are not cynical enough.

And it seems that you are operating under the assertion that Tropes Are Not Good, while forgetting the corollary: Tropes Are Not Bad. All that you said in quotes were basic themes and tropes. They were a bit simplified, but they were certainly more fleshed out than you gave them credit for, in addition to being some of the early trope codifiers.

All characters are plot devices, in the same way plots are ways of defining characters. The characters seemed to exemplify certain themes and archetypes, and outlined basic interactions between them. They acted as people are expected to, which further emphasizes the cruel inevitability of the ending.

I never said "simple" was realism. I said "mundane" is, by definition, realism. It's impossible to describe an entire person in any number of words, but the author certainly spent more than a sentence on each character.
comment #4640 70.173.70.232 2nd Oct 10
No...but I did not get the illusion that there was anything more to the characters. Which there should be, these characters felt not like human beings, they felt fake.

Stephen Colbert has some words for you about cynicism.

Tropes that are obviously tropes are not bad, for all this touted realism, this book seemed extremely fake and set up, it seemed more like a fairy tale then a slice of life story, a good author should make the world feel alive.

And yet again say that maybe life is mundane, but humanity is not. And I disagree that Steinbeck put more than a sentence into each character, they're stereotypes, nothing greater.
comment #4670 Phrederic 4th Oct 10
  • Sigh*

Everyone likes their own writing style. Such as I hate the Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings books since I hate it's writing style. However, people like, "Of Mice and Men" because of the tear-jerky parts and internal conflict, like everyone else has said. Having one setting is not a bad thing; if you put enough drama and stuff into it.

Oh stop being so sophisticated already.

The reason I am pissed off at you is because you just technically said that Steinbeck is a bad writer. Don't you get it people? IT'S EVRYONE'S OPINION!!! Some people like the way Steinbeck writes, some people don't. So don't say Steinbeck is a bad writer, please.

And just for the record, argue all you want. Really. Something someone likes in this book you might not like. You think it's garbage, others don't. So don't try to argue, since everyone has there own opinions. Now, let's stop this stupid argument, shall we?
comment #4756 SomeCrazyPerson 11th Oct 10
"Don't you get it people? IT'S EVRYONE'S OPINION!!! Some people like the way Steinbeck writes, some people don't. So don't say Steinbeck is a bad writer, please."

I don't see why it can't be one's opinion that everyone who likes Steinbeck is wrong. That's an opinion too.
comment #4765 63.226.140.221 12th Oct 10
But hey, just because you don't like something personally doesn't mean it doesn't have literary value. I know people who will gauge their own eyes out before reading Romeo and Juliette again. But hey, the play's been around so long that it's got value of some sort.

Just because some people don't gain anything from reading Of Mice and Men it doesn't mean it's a pile of crap. That's unfair.

comment #4770 LaCapitana 12th Oct 10
"Just because some people don't gain anything from reading Of Mice and Men it doesn't mean it's a pile of crap. That's unfair."

I figure anyone who attacks as a failure beloved pieces of the cannon must address why the world heretofore had been hoodwinked. It's okay to think it has been; 500 million fans can be wrong. Just tell us why. For instance, I figure the almost worthless (except insofar as it is an accurate portrayal of the type of person who should never be the focus of any but satyrical novels) "Catcher in the Rye" became a classic because people tend to read it at exactly the right time in their lives to think the puerile protagonist is insightful. Yes, I'm familiar with the argument that Salinger doesn't share Caulfield's worldview. He could have demonstrated that more in the actual novel. It has been done. Don't believe me, check out any number of Byronesque, Wertheresque, and even Kafkaesque "heroes."

See, that wasn't so hard. Not that it was a great (or even good) piece of criticism. But at least it addressed the issue. It can be done. Check out T.S. Eliot's review of Hamlet (which I thought would make me angry but really was a hoot).
comment #4789 63.226.140.221 15th Oct 10
The reason I review respected bits of literature is twofold, first, I honestly believe this and want to express my opinion, two, I'm tired of works receiving respect and adulation just because they're famous books. We should examine everyday things in our life and push them to the limit, we should find out if how we're living could be improved, and we shouldn't criticize books just because they're famous.
comment #4796 Phrederic 16th Oct 10
  • not criticize

D'oh!
comment #4809 Phrederic 17th Oct 10
I don't see why it can't be one's opinion that everyone who likes Steinbeck is wrong. That's an opinion too.

No, I meant that you shouldn't straight out say that Steinberg is a bad writer, because it's everyone's own opinion. He seems quite adamant that he's right
comment #4822 SomeCrazyPerson 19th Oct 10
Values Drift. What made a book good when Stienbeck wrote isn't the same thing that makes a book good now. Of Mice And Men would go nowhere if it was published fresh today, and most popular/critically acclaimed novels today would flop in 1937.
comment #4835 Ramenth 20th Oct 10
"o, I meant that you shouldn't straight out say that Steinberg is a bad writer"

Why not, if you think he is? I fully agree that concessions ought to be made to "the wisdom of the ages" as over your personal experience. No kind of good critic is oblivious to the fact that what disappoints them may be of value to others.

Then again, the pretense that every entry in the cannon of Great Books deserves to be there is false. It ignores the element of chance in life, which is greater than most people are willing to believe. Some books people pretend to like so as not to look stupid, or politically incorrect, or whatever. Which is why books fall in and out of the pantheon constantly. For instance, Shakespeare was not always the greatest english poet. He didn't emerge as we know him—as "the Bard"—until the 1800s.

This particular thread wasn't started by much of a critic, but giants of the discipline (Trilling, Wilson, Eliot, so on) have more or less successfully defied the opinions of millions. They don't get stuck in what is essentially a junior high-level sophistic dilemma along the lines of "That's just, like, your opinion, man."

"He seems quite adamant that he's right"

So do people smarter and better spoken than him.
comment #4861 63.226.140.221 22nd Oct 10
I bet most people here, even if you know the history behind the book, wouldn't be defending it if their high schools didn't make them read it.
comment #4868 150.212.51.62 22nd Oct 10
That's quite a generalization to make; any evidence to back that up, 150.212.51.62?
comment #4874 dragonfire5000 23rd Oct 10
It's a bet. If you want evidence, build a time machine, go back in time, and stop high schools from making people read it.
comment #4875 150.212.51.62 23rd Oct 10
So, in other words, you have nothing to back up your statement. Huh.

The burden of proof is on you, since you were the one that made the claim.
comment #4891 dragonfire5000 24th Oct 10
I'll keep that in mind when I'm actually trying to prove something.

The idea was mostly to get people to ask themselves "What would I think of this book if my high school didn't force me to read it?"
comment #4892 150.212.51.62 24th Oct 10
It's probably not a book I would have read on my own- I admit that. I like epic fantasy/sci-fi stuff and that's what makes up a bulk of my reading. That's why schools have required material that students must read, to broaden their views a little and teach them to look at different kinds of literature.

I don't really think it detracts anything from the arguments of people defending the book's value. And hey, no matter if it were required reading material or not, Steinbeck still won a nobel peace prize for his works.

comment #4907 LaCapitana 25th Oct 10
So did Yasser Arafat, and he was a fucking terrorist. Noble prizes mean jack.
comment #4911 Phrederic 25th Oct 10
I have no idea what a fageot is, and whether or not Phrederic sucks (or if so, just what he/she sucks) but I do want to make the point that I found Of Mice and men a highly entertaining read. Phreds somewhat laconic review gives little clue as to just what (s)he disliked about the work, which makes a specific retribution difficult. Does (she) not understand the theme? Understand it, but disagree with it? Or (which is usually the case when someone loathes a work to this extent) understands it, but finds it boringly written or otherwise flawed? In the last case, of course, there is little to be done. Art is subjective, and existence is too short to persist with an author or story you dislike. One tosses the book in the trash (or otherwise disposes of it) and moves on. However, it is sometimes the case that one misses what the author is trying to say in which case the doings of the characters who act out his/her story will hold no interest to the reader, however entertainingly they might behave. Those who dislike OMAM for this reason might do well to give it a second look while retaining in their mind just what Steinbeck is trying to say. Viz: The American Dream is flawed. Badly flawed. It encourages you to want a lot more than you have, and in order to try to realise that dream, you are forced to dedicate your life to slavery, in a desperate attempt to haul yourself a few rungs up a very long ladder. And woe betide you if you are in any way flawed, for not only will you fail in the realisation of that dream, but it will count against you in any assessment of your morality and character. This will make you hate yourself even more, and actually discourage you from practicing genuine virtues, such as companionship, unselfishness and altruism. Now this theme is universal in American literature, and has existed ever since there WAS an America and one can list a zillion examples. Main Street and Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, Millers Death of a Salesman, movies like Wall Street and Precious, Thoreaus entire canon. One might even make a case for it being THE theme of American literature. But Steinbecks take on it is a highly original one, in that it is one of the few novels that actually focuses on alternate virtues, such as love, companionship, protection of the weak, rather than the inherent evils of the American Dream and then, after setting them up, destroys them. Retelling the plot and the implied backstory of the plot gives one a fair example of how Steinbeck treats the theme. The story is about two itinerant workers, George and Lennie, who at the start of the tale have already encountered problems due to Lennies mental limitations coupled with his gigantic strength. It is immediately obvious that George would fare far better alone, and that Lennie a person totally unsuited to existence in the modern age of greed and materialism would be better off dead. The actual story is about how George comes to realise this and eventually beings it about. The two arrive at a ranch to work having had to hightail it from a previous job due to Lennie having been accused of raping a woman (and its obvious that he was too stupid to have done so deliberately) and try to rebuild their fortunes. Their aim is to own land of their own, but the simplest of readers can see that it is a forlorn hope from the start. Already, one can see just what a handicap Lennie is to George, but George, though he is intelligent enough to realise this, puts the virtue of friendship above self gain (and thus the novel makes a straw dog of the virtue of friendship). They make friends at the ranch, notably crooks, a crippled Negro and Candy, an amputee who fears he will be sacked because of his disability (both symbols of the theme if you are in any way flawed, theres nothing here for you) and also an enemy in Curley, the bosses son, a symbol of the pushiness and drive of the American way. Various incidents reveal just what George is up against in trying to protect his friend. Lennie gets into a fight with Curley and beats him, is given a pet cat but breaks its neck when he tries to stroke it, and finally, in attempting to make love to Curleys wife, breaks her neck. This micro/macro theme is echoes in other ways, most notably in Candys dog, which is old and in pain, and has to be shot. Eventually, George reluctantly decides that the solution meted out to the dog is the only way to put Lennie out of his misery. And in one of the most touching scenes in American literature, he does just that... Art, as I assert above, is subjective. Phrederic finds the characters dull, I found both protagonists, the villain and the supporting cast all well-drawn and interesting. Far from sitting on his ass, George is highly proactive, in attempting to protect Lennie and realise their dream of owning land. OK, so he fails, but that hardly makes Phrederics objection valid. And the story of how and why he fails makes a significant point about the American way. As to why it should be called quality literature hey, Steinbeck takes only ninety or so pages to totally demolish the capitalist myth, beat it to a pulp in fact. Other didactic writers would have taken a Victorian three-decker to trash it so comprehensively. Great art indeed!

comment #4917 Alan23 26th Oct 10
"Steinbeck takes only ninety or so pages to totally demolish the capitalist myth, beat it to a pulp in fact. Other didactic writers would have taken a Victorian three-decker to trash it so comprehensively."

There are plenty of similarly effective short works that people tend to read in high school on the con side of the capitalist question: Utopia, The Jungle, Looking Backward, etc. Steinbeck's avoidance of the "Atlas Shrugged" pitfall may be admirable, but not exceptional.
comment #4921 216.160.22.126 26th Oct 10
"is given a pet cat but breaks its neck when he tries to stroke it, and finally, in attempting to make love to Curleys wife, breaks her neck."

Uh, its a mouse actually, and Curley's Wife was coming onto him...

But beyond that, inside that gigantic wall of text lies some pretty good ideas. I don't get the point of the American Dream being flawed because a) It's not as impossible as this book makes it out to be and b) I've realized its flaws long before reading this book.

And how does this book crush capitalism? Its fiction, I could write a book in which our modern economic crisis is cause by people tolerating homosexuality, just because it was written doesn't mean it isn't horseshit.
comment #4922 Phrederic 26th Oct 10
"I don't get the point of the American Dream being flawed because a) It's not as impossible as this book makes it out to be"

Even in the book itself, the dream's impossibility is merely implied. That's the impression some people are left with, and perhaps the intended messag. But like all good stories, the events are indeterminate. Any number of circumstances could've landed George on his own farm. Just like Hamlet might've killed Claudius and Raskolnikov might've gotten away with it.
comment #4928 216.160.22.126 27th Oct 10
"And how does this book crush capitalism? Its fiction, I could write a book in which our modern economic crisis is cause by people tolerating homosexuality, just because it was written doesn't mean it isn't horseshit."

I don't even know the logic of this sentence but alright. You can defend your hate in the novel. You know what? It's your opinion. Fine. It's just that your reasons for hating it are the same reasons others like it, and you challenged people to try to sway you with cool-headed rhetoric, which just seems to be impossible at this point. I think it's an alright novel- and yeah, an American classic. I'll stand by it. It has flaws, but it's still good. I liked the story, I was emotionally moved, that's my final verdict. If it's not yours, then alright. You don't have to read the book anymore and it won't haunt you forever in your English student dreams.
comment #4930 LaCapitana 27th Oct 10
"don't even know the logic of this sentence but alright"

The logic was that just because a novel argues a point—and the above poster didn't say it but let's assume it argues well—doesn't mean any "myth" has been "totally demolished." Let us also assume that the above poster (like myself, for instance) has low esteem for didactic fiction.
comment #4933 216.160.22.126 27th Oct 10
Above poster said what I've been trying to say for paragraphs in about a sentence...props.
comment #4952 Phrederic 28th Oct 10
Okay. This comment has very little to do with Of Mice And Men and I apologize for it. Also, I realize that my point has been made, but it seems like most people who made this point made it in a very passive agressive manner.

Anyone who commented above me may or may not have liked the book. Phrederic did not. Whether or not anyone who commented above me thinks anyone else who commented above me is being childish is beside the point. The comment section in reviews is obviously meant for debate, but when you stoop to personal attacks on the intelligence of other tropers and act equally childish/immature/idiotic as the person whose opinion you are disagreeing with, quite frankly you are behaving no better. The bottom line is you have a right to disagree, but don't act like a troll.
comment #6571 cheeseypoofs 23rd Feb 11
A troll these days is just someone with a different opinion who doesn't convert to your beliefs immediately in the face of your infallible argument.
comment #6640 150.212.1.170 28th Feb 11
Phrederic 30th May 10:
And since Lenny didn't really have consistent behavior, he could have just as easily let Curley's Wife go as choke her....

But that's entirely consistent with Lennie's character. As told by George to Slim, the reason they had to leave the last town they were in was because Lennie wanted to touch a girl's velvet dress - not her body, just the dress - she screamed, and he grabbed her in a panic. George managed to make him let go and the girl ran to the sheriff saying she'd been raped. Likewise, when he breaks Curley's hand he grabs and hangs on, only letting go when George pulls him off. In the case of Curley's Wife George wasn't there to stop him. She kept screaming, and all Lennie wants is for her to stop screaming.

Insofar as the Show Dont Tell bit, the book was written as it was in order to be turned into a stage play. He didn't give himself the luxury of a book or film where you can have Loads And Loads Of Characters - they have to make it with a minimum. So George has to tell what happened before, in order to show what Lennie is like when he panics.
comment #7244 randomsurfer 11th Apr 11 (edited by: randomsurfer)
Here's my problem with Of Mice and Men: it's anvilicious.

Yes, the plot is simple and the characters don't seem to have much depth at first glance (although I'm sure they actually do; that's not my point here). But these things don't make a book bad.

My problem is with Steinbeck's point. I saw it coming from a mile away when I read O Ma M. The ending is supposed to make you think or reflect, I suppose, but it really frustrated me. I felt like Steinbeck was breathing down my neck as I finished the novel, yelling "WAS WHAT GEORGE DID MORALLY OKAY? DO YOU HAVE MORALS? HOW HAS GEORGE EVOLVED AS A TRAGIC HERO (or whatever you would like to call him)?" at me.

Again, stories with morals aren't bad. But I found the themes of O Ma M to be overly anvilicious: it's like Steinbeck dropped them on my head Lord-of-the-Flies style (there's a little pun there...). And since there isn't a whole lot else going on in the story (few other characters, a fairly stagnant setting,...), you kinda have to focus on the themes.

That really bothered me. Forget about themes for a second: does O Ma M work as a plot? Do the actual events of the plot make for an interesting story? Maybe, but I feel like they're only there to guide me to the theme Steinbeck had in mind.

For that reason, I think O Ma M ventures into Morality Tale territory. You might like morality tales, which is cool. But their anvilicious nature really bothers me.
comment #7248 longstreth 12th Apr 11 (edited by: longstreth)
Hoo boy, that comment section took a while to read through.

I haven't actually read Of Mice And Men, so I can't debate whether it's a good book or not. I think i can debate some of the points brought up, though. First, it seems to me that barely anyone reacted to what Phrederic said about world building. World building is mainly an aspect of fantasy and speculative fiction. There is admittedly a lot of fiction written in those genres, but it's still just a fraction of literature in general, making a lack of world building an absurd argument. A work being based in the real world does not inherently affect its quality. It's a matter of preference, as is most things.

Personally, I loathe derivative and clichd world building (which seems to be 90% of all world building) but find creative and innovative examples highly enjoyable. I enjoy realistic settings about as much, provided the work is a good one.

Furthermore, a creative-writing-course-format does not instantly make a story good or bad. This, too, is a matter of preference. It tends to create easy-to-read, satisfying stories, but limit the writer and make clichs harder to avoid. OMAM, if I've understood the commenters here right, does not conform to such a structure, and while that may make the book frustrating to read, it doesn't automatically make it bad.

Three of my absolute favorite books are Lord Of The Flies, The Master And Margarita and The Subject Steve (none of which were read as a school assignment, mind you, although the third one were recommended to me by my English teacher). They are all more or less structurally unconventional, but I found them both worthwhile and incredibly entertaining.

Also, @Alan23: You desperately need to use more spacing, but the contents of your comment were worth reading. For some reason, the parenthesis in the line 'One tosses the book in the trash (or otherwise disposes of it) and moves on.' made me giggle.

comment #7285 ArtisticPlatypus 16th Apr 11 (edited by: ArtisticPlatypus)
"it seems to me that barely anyone reacted to what Phrederic said about world building. World building is mainly an aspect of fantasy and speculative fiction. There is admittedly a lot of fiction written in those genres, but it's still just a fraction of literature in general, making a lack of world building an absurd argument"

"World building," I've assumed, was just another word for "setting," which is an element of 100% of narrative literature. No doubt Of Mice and Men builds its world in time and place. You know, the Depression, rural USA, a ranch, the woods. Phrederic just didn't like it because it is simple, realistic, shown rather than told, and (to him) boring.
comment #7365 tublecane 22nd Apr 11
I like how you know what I think. That being psychic is pretty cool yeah?

The reason I found this story boring is because it's badly written, it's supposed to be a realistic story of depression and hardship yet it's ridiculously over dramatic.

Curley is over the top evil. George is deathly boring and plain. And Lenny is a walking plot device.

What is this story? Is it a morality tale? If so it's not a good one since the characters are so simple. Is it an archetypical man versus society story? No, because nobody fights society and Curley is not a representation of The Man or anything else, he's just a goofy asshole. The basic story itself isn't very interesting, the Lenny bits are pure glurge and the George bits are eklonri'j;lllllllllllllll Sorry, fell asleep there for a little bit. What the hell does this story have? What the hell is this story?
comment #7368 Phrederic 22nd Apr 11
I don't quite understand what you mean by telling Steinbeck to "Show, not tell." That is pretty much the only thing he did in "Of Mice and Men"... perhaps to a fault. He never went into the characters' inner thoughts and emotions, but expected the readers to pick up and interpret them through the characters' actions. That feels like pretty solid "show, not tell" to me... whether or not it made a good story is a matter of opinion. Personally, I liked it, but you don't have to.
comment #7650 ThisBirdTooHasFlown 11th May 11
This is a pretty old review, but after reading through it I'm just so irritated that I HAVE to say something.

Phrederic's review is not very good because he constantly refers to his own opinions as fact; "Steinbeck is a terrible writer and this book is hogwash" versus "In my opinion, Steinbeck is a terrible writer and this book is hogwash BECAUSE his characters are flat, their experiences are more for the sake of convenience than any realistic reason, etc." Also, I personally find it strange for a review to include cursing and an invitation to convince him otherwise, although I have yet to see him concede to any arguments, or otherwise accept the fact that the main point of contention is his lack of reasonable evidence for his opinions. I've only see him agree with a view by another troper that he finds similar to his own, which is vaguely narcissistic.

I was assigned to read Of Mice and Men around 5 years ago, and I felt that the "plot device" that is Lennie's possible brain damage and reactions to having to let go of things he finds precious was valid. Accepting that part of Lennie's characterization, George's constant struggle to protect his friend and establish a means of living are also made valid. I personally found the conclusion in which George fatally shoots Lennie without warning rather than having him arrested/killed by the sheriff/town(?) to be the clincher to a recurring theme in the book — having things that are precious to you taken away. Sure, Lennie doesn't like his mice struggling to escape, but what about George? While he struggles with Lennie, a person that constantly takes away precious things (homes, jobs), in the end he had to confront the prospect of losing something else — his best friend. And like Lennie with who knows how many pets before him, he kills it.

Phrederic argues the whole "show, don't tell" method. That's because he personally prefers that style of writing. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with subtlety as a whole, and I feel that leaving details up to interpretation or, conversely, stating them directly is an equally valid method of storytelling.

Lastly, I want to add that throughout school, whenever we were assigned a classic book to read, there's always someone that feels the need, the NEED, to be contrary just for the sake of it, especially since they aspire to become a famous, influential writer (that's better than any who came before them, I'm sure), despite typing like an angry 13 year old. I don't know if Phrederic is guilty of all of this, but it certainly sounds like it.
comment #7673 YamCookie 13th May 11
I'm not really the biggest fan of Steinbeck (I hated The Pearl with a burning passion), but I kind of liked Of Mice And Men. It's not my favorite book, but I thought the characters were decent enough.
comment #9941 ILoveDogs 15th Sep 11
...This is a terribly written review. It says little if nothing more than "I hate this book," and does so in sentences that would make a grammarian cry. I know the last 98 comments (that aren't from Phrederic himself) have said that, but it's just...wow.
comment #9942 Psychobabble6 15th Sep 11
The aesop I got from the book wasn't "being poor sucks", but "lets just shoot mentally retarded people, trying to take care of them sucks."
comment #9944 eveil 15th Sep 11
I don't hate this book. I just find it to be extremely boring, but the fact that Phrederic referred to himself as part of Steinbeck's Hatedom makes me facepalm...

@Psychobabble6

Actually, he/she wrote about hundred times what exactly he/she dislikes about the book. How about you read it more carefully?
comment #9945 kay4today 15th Sep 11 (edited by: kay4today)
I haven't read all of the comments, but I don't think you claim of Diabolis Ex Machina is valid. In the article on This Very Wiki, it states " Like the Deus Ex Machina, it only applies if it comes out of left field." The incident in weed is described very early on. It's also established early on that Lennie can kill things. accidentally. When we first meet Curly, he's established as the kind of guy who REALLY hates Lennie for no goddamn reason, and would probably kill someone who shot his wife. Curly's wife is the kind of girl who let's a guy touch her hair. George is introduced to the concept of euthanasia to preven a much more painful death through the dog. If anyhting, it was just build up for the [[Anvilicous Anvi]]licous Tearjerker ending. I don't think the trope you're looking for is Diabolis Ex Machina.
comment #10374 Tetraploid 28th Sep 11
I initially did not like Of Mice and Men, nor the Pearl, and in fact vehemently disliked them when I read them in high school. The minimalist style did not do it for me at all. However, for those dubious about Steinbeck's writing, I would highly recommend East of Eden - I loved the characters of that book. They all felt so rich and full and real. Reading that, in addition, helped me gain a better appreciation for his writing style and those previous two books of his. (Although, I still wouldn't call the Pearl a favorite.) I've found that a number of people who absolutely did not like other works by Steinbeck ended up enjoying East of Eden.

Yes, I'm aware that I am many, many months late on this.
comment #14317 Tricolor 14th May 12
@eveil: You didn't get the right aesop. Try again. Or present intelligent reasoning for your point. Your choice.

comment #14326 Ultrayellow 15th May 12
Did you miss the part where the book says the small guy and the retarded guy lost every single job they ever got because the retarded guy kept getting them chased out of town? Or the part where the small guy manages to save his job and his future by shooting the retarded guy?

Or maybe the book is really a tirade against society's treatment of the mentally ill. Who knows. Maybe you should try thinking beyond what your English teachers and peers have brainwashed you with.
comment #14343 eveil 17th May 12
"Or the part where the small guy manages to save his job and his future by shooting the retarded guy?"

Yes (well, I don't remember whether he saved his job, but certainly saved himself a lot of trouble), but it's not as if the alternative was to shake hands and go their seperate ways. Lenny was in immediate danger of being lynched. George offered a painless alternative to whatever the others were going to do once they caught Lenny.

As for the rest, I don't think Lenny was supposed to stand for all retards, and George's euthanization was not near as I can tell a serious suggestion for how to deal with the totality of the infirm. For one thing not all retards start accidentally killing things the second you leave them alone.

Lenny certainly was a burden, but I should think that were there not a depression, if George and Lenny were not itinerants, were Lenny settled and there were people available apart from George to care for him, Lenny wouldn't have been such a burden. A burden he was, and an impossible one for George. But that has more to do with the desperate situation they find themselves in, and how circumstance can cause us to lose our better selves. It does not mean Steinbeck sanctioned eugenics.
comment #14626 tublecane 5th Jun 12
Lenny certainly was a burden, but I should think that were there not a depression, if George and Lenny were not itinerants, were Lenny settled and there were people available apart from George to care for him, Lenny wouldn't have been such a burden.

Or if Lenny would quit killing everything he touches.

Remind me what the aesop is supposed to be. Any aesop about capitalism or desperation is lost upon me when I remember that most people are capable of not killing things.
comment #14784 Medder 10th Jun 12
Hey, Phrederic! Your review got a mention on a blog post! Check it out:

http://triumphlit.blogspot.com/2011/07/revue-of-reviews-or-tv-tropes-is-full.html
comment #19820 babymoondancer 12th Jun 13
Two year old blog post by a person who can't tell the difference between a site and comments on a site, not that it makes much difference when cherry picking. Thanks for sharing.
comment #19821 FastEddie 12th Jun 13 (edited by: FastEddie)
I have to say, I agree with this review 100%. The one thing I would like to point out though is I agree that there's no real villain, Curley is A villain but he is not THE villain in that he's not central to the main plot.
comment #21474 ading 10th Oct 13
I agree with most of these points; except I think the characters aren't one-dimensional. When I started reading this story (I admit I had to for school, I wouldn't have picked this up on my own) I saw potential in the adventures of these characters. WB Cartoons took advantage of this with characters like Pinky and the Brain (who I first thought of when I read this.) I wanted to hear more about Lennie's past mistakes and George's inner conflict of helping Lennie or living the life he mentions he's always mentioning that he'd rather have. The side characters were great too (not Curly and Slick, but Curly's wife and Crooks were great characters that I wanted to hear more about). Sadly, the book was more of a short story and not much happened. On the other hand, I'm glad it wasn't too confusing like Moby Dick (I got through about 1/3 maybe less of that before I had to stop because I had no idea what was going on) and Steinbeck doesn't have a tendency to ramble on and on like some authors of this time.
comment #22433 iliketurtles 8th Dec 13
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